Nigeria: Ogun 2023 – How Adebutu Edged Out Showunmi to Secure INEC Recognition

Except if it is overturned by the court, Mr Adebutu would be the PDP candidate in the 2023 general election.

Ladi Adebutu, a former House of Representatives member, has beaten Segun Showunmi, the former spokesperson of Atiku Abubakar, to the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State, according to the list of candidates published by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Except it is overturned by the court, Mr Adebutu will be the PDP candidate in the 2023 general election.

Mr Adebutu became the major financier of the party in the state following the demise of Buruji Kashamu, who was the senator representing Ogun East, in 2020.

For years, Messrs Adebutu and Kashamu jostled for control of the party’s structure in Ogun State.

After Mr Kashamu succumbed to COVID-19 complications, members of the party’s state executive including the chairman, Bayo Dayo, shifted their loyalty and structure to Mr Adebutu’s control.

The executive held a congress which produced Sikirulahi Ogundele, the leader of Mr Adebutu’s faction of the party, as the substantive chairman.

When Mr Showunmi began making moves last year to clinch the party’s governorship ticket, it was already clear he was going to get stiff opposition from Mr Adebutu.

Despite his closeness to Atiku, Mr Showunmi was unable to secure the support of the national secretariat of the party, fueling speculations that the aspirant seems to have fallen out with his former boss.

In May, Messrs Adebutu and Showunmi held parallel primaries where they emerged the respective governorship candidates of their factions of the party.

While Mr Adebutu’s held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, and monitored by a five-man committee from the PDP national headquarters, Mr Showunmi’s primaries were held at the premises of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ogun State chapter.

Only Mr Adebutu’s primary was supervised by INEC officials.

INEC regulation stipulates that the national body of the party shall communicate the venue of its party’s primaries in the 36 states of the federation, including that of the national convention.

Legal tussle

Before the primaries, Mr Showunmi had appealed to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party not to permit the state executive members to conduct primary elections in the state.

Mr Showunmi, who suspected foul play by the executive earlier before the primaries, accused the members of the state Working Committee of being biased while seeking their dissolution over alleged violation of their oath of office.

When his plea fell on the deaf ears, he approached a high court in Ogun State to seek the dissolution of the state working executives.

The court dismissed his request.

Speaking to journalists on 20 May, Mr Showunmi said his lawyers had filed an appeal against the high court ruling.

He argued that the judge erred in law when he held that the appellant’s suit was a pre-election matter and dismissed the suit for want of jurisdiction at the interlocutory stage contrary to the clear provisions of section 285 (8) of the 1999 constitution.


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