SDP disowns Shonibare
by Tunde Joshua, Abuja
…warns members, public not to deal with him on behalf of party
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has denied membership of a Lagos based politician, Chief Supo Shonibare claiming that he has been expelled from the party The Trumpet gathered.
The party accused him of hiding under the facade of being the factional national chairman of the party to collect illegal nominations and expression of interest fees from aspirants seeking to contest the 2023 general elections under the SDP.
SDP National Publicity Secretary, Ambassador Rufus Aiyenigba, made the allegation in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, on Tuesday to disown the lawyer cum politician.
The party clarified that Chief Shonibare’s stock in trade after his expulsion from the party has been to misinform the public with a view to distract from the rising profile of the SDP as the credible alternative for Nigerians, seeking good governance and development as the nation counts down to next year’s general elections.
Ambassador Aiyenigba, in the statement, described him as an agent of destabilisation and distraction who since 2019 has engaged in shenanigans, including legal battles to take over control of the party as national chairman to no avail.
“On 7 February 2019, Chief Olu Falae announced his resignation as national chairman of the party and his retirement from politics. Prof. Tunde Adeniran, the then Deputy National Chairman (South) immediately ascended to the position of national chairman, in accordance with Section 12.5.1 (v) of the SDP Constitution, 2018.
“Chief Supo Shonibare, who was merely one of the six zonal chairmen of SDP at the time, rushed to Abuja on 11 February 2019, claiming that he was acting under the directives of a local socio-cultural organisation to take over the SDP and proceeded to illegally announce himself as national chairman of the party.
“He was roundly ignored by the SDP leadership, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the public. After one year, a frustrated Shonibare headed to the Federal High Court in Abuja on 22 January 2020, to urge the court to declare him as national chairman and to compel INEC to recognise him as such.
“He also sought from the court a declaration that the SDP constitution of 2011/2012 and the old SDP logo are the only valid tenders of the party and not the 2018 SDP constitution and the current logo which were duly ratified and adopted at the 6th October 2018, national convention of the party in Abuja, under the supervision of the Independent Nation Electoral Commission (INEC).
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“As of 14 May 2022, the Shonibare court case is yet to be formally heard at the Federal High Court, Abuja. It is noteworthy that INEC, as a defendant in the case, had sometime in 2020 and 2021, informed the court that the commission is not aware that Chief Supo Shonibare became the SDP national chairman at any point in time.
“In the meantime, it has become clear from his stance, that Chief Shonibare has consistently shown the restlessness of a man that knows that his case has no merit,” the SDP image-maker stated.
According to Amb. Aiyenigba, in utter disregard of the pending case in court, Chief Shonibare, proclaimed himself as the SDP acting national chairman and proceeded to announce fake schedules for congresses and conventions, including reeling out rules and conditions for aspirants wishing to fly the party’s banner in 2023.
“He acted completely in contradiction and in conflicts with the Electoral Act, 2022 and in utter disdain for the role and rules of INEC. This brazen disregard for the electoral law and the regulatory body, INEC has confirmed that Shonibare is only out to cause distraction for the leaders of the Social Democratic Party.
“It has also become evident that Chief Supo Shonibare is being motivated by fraud and intention to commit crime. As a matter of fact, Chief Shonibare has now taken to public media platforms and social media to advertise and canvass for sales of bogus forms for phantom SDP congresses, convention and nomination forms to contest elections.
“He also asked unsuspecting members of the public to make payments to illegal bank accounts.
“The party hereby uses this medium to announce that Chief Supo Shonibare is not a member of the SDP, but an impostor and impersonator aiming to defraud the public by posing as the SDP national chairman and indulging in criminal acts like soliciting for unauthorised fees and collecting monies under false pretext.
“The national leadership of the party hereby warn party members nationwide and the public in general not to deal with Chief Supo Shonibare on any matter relating to the Social Democratic Party, and enjoins anyone who had already fallen victim to his mischief to report immediately to the Nigeria Police or other law- enforcement agencies,” he added.