AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY
RE: SUIT NO. FHC/L/CS/63/2021 HON. DAYO OGUN GBENRO & 11 ORS V. PRINCE UCHE SECONDUS & 2 ORS. MATTER ARISING.
The Office of the National Legal Adviser was established by S. 31 (1) (o) of the Constitution of Peoples Democratic Party, while S. 42 (1) of the constitution states the functions of the National Legal Adviser which includes, advising the parties in all legal matters; conducts all litigation on behalf of the party and finally to interpret the laws, regulations and constitution of of the party in event of any ambiguities.
By the above provisions, the constitution of PDP has placed on the National Legal Adviser a fiduciary duty, that must be performed with good faith.
The National Legal Adviser, being the torch bearer of the party in legal matters must at all the time be seen to be a person of unbiased mind nor must he put himself in a precarious position against the interest of the party or put himself in a position that may engender conflict of interest.
Dayo Ogungbenro and 11 ORS allegedly instituted this action at the Federal High Court in Lagos against The National Chairman, National Legal Adviser and one other.
It is an open fact that the faction of the party in SouthWest that instituted the matter are Chief Ladi Adebutu’s faction, who are contesting amongst other things, that the court should change the National Executive Committee approved venue for Southwest Congress (Oyo State) to Abeokuta. Upon being served with the Court processes, the National Legal Adviser, who is a 2nd Defendant in the matter intructed Adeyinka Adeyemi Esq of Adeyemi & Partners to represent all the Defendants, that is, the National Chairman, National Legal Adviser and PDP.
He further instructed Adeyemi Adeyinka Esq. that his professional fees would be negotiated and paid by Chief Ladi Adebutu (whose faction instituted the matter). In other words, the Counsel that represents the Plaintiffs also engaged and bankroll the Defendants to the Plaintiffs’ Action. What a preposterous situation? Please refer to the letter of instruction dated 29th January, 2021 and signed by the National Legal Adviser of PDP.
Suffice to say, that the National Legal Adviser created a conflict of interest inordinate high proportions, this is so as he cannot maintain the expected standard of defending the party. How? The factional head who sponsored the institution of the action is the one footing the bill of the lawyer to defend the action. The scenario playing out here could be likened to the same person being the Plaintiffs and at the same time the Defendants.
What then is the political implication of the conduct of the National Legal Adviser of PDP? The answer to this is not farfetched. S. 58 (1) (d), (h), (j) and (l) of the Constitution of Peoples Democratic Party, any person who engages in dishonest practices, in conduct likely to cause disaffection among the members of the party, or promote factions or result to court action without first availing himself of remedies provided by the party has committed offense, and may be sanctioned.
One wonders whether the National Legal Adviser is an exception to these provisions in the present circumstances. It is worrisome that that the National Legal Adviser, who sits on the revered throne of the number one law officer of PDP can in the opinion of this writer, descend to disorganize PDP in the entire Southwest. It is also important to ask, who is Chief Ladi Adebutu? Is he the treasurer of PDP? Is he a member of the Executive Committee of PDP? If all these questions are negative, why is he the one to bankroll a case against PDP. What image will this portray the party?
While I want to emphasize that some of the deficiencies of the National Legal Adviser may not constitute unsatisfactory conduct when viewed singularly, the cumulative effect demonstrates his inability to conform to expected standards of professional Ethics.
This conduct should be seen as unacceptable of a reputable figure from whom much more is expected. We hereby call on the Board of Trustees of Our Great Party to savage the situation by calling the National Legal Adviser to order and allow peace to reign in the party. Thank you.
Author: Oke Ayorinde, Justice Advocate, Southwest PDP.