Senator Buruji Kashamu, a PDP lawmaker representing Ogun East Senatorial District, is facing an uphill battle on two fronts: to remain a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and to remain in Nigeria.
Of the two, the latter threat is the more frightening for the lawmaker as the federal government is now appealing a court order which restrained it from extraditing Kashamu to the United States where he is wanted for drugs related crimes.
Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos had restrained the FG from extraditing Kashamu , ruling that due process was not followed in the process. However, Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice has now approached the Appeal Court, asking it to set aside the judgment of the lower court on the ground of miscarriage of justice. The FG is arguing that Kashamu suppressed facts before the lower court to secure the restraining order against his extradition.
Meanwhile Kashamu faces a fight for political survival within the PDP. In July, he boasted that nobody could kick him out of the party, but his fortunes have taken a nosedive since then. He is now seeking the protection of the Federal High Court in Abuja to prevent expulsion from the party.
Background: Kashamu received a query in September for working against the interests of the PDP in the South West, which the lawmaker denied in a reply to the query. Consequently, the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP sent Kashamu’s case to a Disciplinary Committee for “further necessary action.”
Kashamu’s present suit at the Federal High Court is to stop the Disciplinary committee from issuing any sanction against him.
Battles: In the past couple of months, Kashamu has had altercations with Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, Gbenga Daniel, former governor of Ogun state and aspirant for the position of PDP chairman as well as the Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi.
With these antecedents, one can understand why Kashamu doubts his ability to remain a member of the party without the court’s intervention.
Unruly Party: Kashamu described the PDP as a party in “serial disobedience of court orders; in the management of its affairs in the South West and disdain for the rule of law.”He said that all disciplinary steps, including the query dated September 7, 2017 issued to him and his referral to the Disciplinary Committee of the party, were in violation of the judgement of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division and also the order of Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Abuja Division of the court on September 5, 2017.
He informed the court that unless the court intervenes, the powerful members of the party would stop at nothing to achieve his expulsion from the PDP and/or prohibit him from seeking future elective positions on the platform of the party.
His sins: According to Kashamu, the reasons they want to expel him include:
- His insistence on observance of internal democracy in the management of the party affairs, especially in the South West; and
- His encouragement of “aggrieved members of the party to approach the court to enforce their rights.”
The implications: The APC clearly does not want Kashamu. A national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, have rebuffed Kashamu’s overtures several times, and the FG is working to extradite him to the United States. Even though there are several other parties he could choose from, Kashamu does not believe he realistically stands a chance outside of the two main parties, hence his dogged fight to remain within the PDP fold.