A Press Release by
Ambassador Rufus Aiyenigba,
National Publicity Secretary, Social Democratic Party (SDP)
14 May 2022
Chief Supo Shonibare, a Lagos socialite and Lawyer has, over the last few days taken to the news media to deliberately misinform and mislead the public with a view to distract from the rising profile of the Social Democratic Party as the credible alternative for progress, peace and sustainable prosperity in Nigeria. He has consistently proven to be an agent of destabilisation or distraction since he was expelled from the Social Democratic Party, SDP in February 2019. This obviously disillusioned man may have totally lost his control from a convolution of his conflicting activities ranging from seeking justice from court, attending reconciliation meetings with SDP leadership, leveraging on leaders of a socio-cultural organisation for unwarranted advantage and outright shenanigans. He certainly appears to have lost his balance and started the descent into criminal infractions which may land him in gaol.
For completeness, it would be necessary to give a brief background of how Chief Shonibare got to this obnoxious state to lose his mind. On 7 February 2019, Chief Olu Falae announced his resignation as National Chairman of the Party and his retirement from politics. Professor Tunde Adeniran, the then Deputy National Chairman (South)immediately assumed office as the National Chairman of the party, 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 SDP leadership, INEC and the public.
After one year of chasing shadows, 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 Party 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).
As at the time of writing this Press Release, 14 May 2022, the Shonibare Court case is yet to be formally heard at the Federal High Court, Abuja. It is also noteworthy that INEC, as a Defendant in the case, had sometime in 2020 and 2021, informed the court that the Commission was not aware that Chief Supo Shonibare became SDP National Chairman at any point in time. The SDP lawyers, on behalf of SDP as a Defendant, also challenged the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the case because the Supreme Court had earlier upheld the SDP Constitution of 2018 in its judgement of 29 March 2019, in the case of Prof. Jerry Gana versus His Excellency Donald Duke. Suffice it, at this juncture, to say that, unlike Chief Supo Shonibare and his co-travellers in all evil machination against the party who have repeatedly resorted to self-help, we trust and believe in the judicial process and the majesty of the Court of law which, in its sound wisdom, has slated the case for Hearing on 30th and 31st May, 2022 in the Federal High Court, Abuja.
In the meantime, it has become very clear from his stance, that Chief Shonibare has consistently showed the restlessness of a man that knows that his case has no merit. After almost two years, he changed his plea from Originating Summons to Statement of Claim and he has consistently misled the public after each court session in order to please his paymasters and to defraud the public. Two recent examples will suffice, for instance:
After the court adjourned on 30 November 2021, Chief Supo Shonibare, while thanking his pay masters “for financial support and encouragement” in a public statement, barefacedly published thus: “Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja this morning has dismissed the application for stay of proceedings and all other applications of the appellants and appeal of SDP as lacking merit. Court ordered accelerated hearing of the case at the Federal High Court.”
This is a calculated misrepresentation from Chief Shonibare. Contrary to this, the Appeal Court took the SDP’s Motion to strike out those on the Defendants List who are no longer in the party and granted extension to file reply brief as properly filed. The Court only decided that the appeal against jurisdiction should wait and be taken along with the main case upon final judgement if still necessary.
After the Court sitting of 7th March2022,Chief Shonibare and his gang of ill-advised travellers again began peddling liesthat the Court had ordered INEC to recognise him as the alternate Chairman of SDP for all intent and purposes, including on matters relating to the forthcoming 2023 general elections. This was a shameless abuse of Court process and a fraudulent activity bordering on serious crime of contempt of Court. This false misrepresentation attributed to the High Court Judge by Chief Shonibare was widely propagated in local and social media to mislead the public with a view to defraud them. Our lawyers had to apply for the Certified True Copy of the Proceedings of the Honourable Courtwhich we madepublic to counter the criminal mischief by Shonibare and his gang.
Chief Supo Shonibare, who is of decades of practice also a Lawyer, has unashamedly stuck to the ignoble habit of peddling distortions of the proceedings of the Court in gross abuse of Court process and disregard to the majesty of the Court. Still unrepentant, on 12th May, 2022, Chief Shonibare showed outright contempt for the court process that he initiated himself by publicly indicating that he has lost all confidence in the court and the judge. He decided that that he could no longer wait for the Hearing of the Case to commence as stated by the High Court judge. Instead, he declared himself as the “Acting National Chairman” of SDP and proceeded to announce fake schedules for Congresses and Conventions and dished out reckless rules and conditions for Aspirants and potential Candidates with utter disregards for the principles of social justice which our party, SDP stands for. He acted completely in contradiction and conflicts with the Electoral Act, 2022 and in utter disdain for the role and rules of INEC.
This brazen act of disregard for the Electoral Law and INEC the regulatory body has confirmed that Shonibare was only out to cause distraction for the leaders of Social Democratic Party. It has also become evident that he has been 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, and so, may be inching towards jail not only for contempt of the court but for criminal offences.
Finally, let me say, for the benefit of the public, especially the youths who have totally imbibed the vision and determination of the SDP for emancipation and empowerment, that the SDP leadership, in its singlemindedness to provide an alternative platform for life more abundant in Nigeria has steadily taken steps to resolve its internal challenges with its members and supporters.It is a fact, that the SDP has the least internal wrangling amongst all the 18 political parties in Nigeria and has barely two court cases. As at present, many old members that left the party in the past are back to the fold. We have developed a fair and just internal system for amicable resolution of disputes and many issues which cause major divisions in other parties have been handled smoothly and quietly in SDP. Some of the occasional noises and orchestrated cries being made in the public by some of those who have issues with SDP are no more than part of negotiations tactics, and ironically, in Nigeria politics, the louder the noise, the closer to resolution such a matter is. Noise is part of how some people signal their own terms. However, in respect of Chief Supo Shonibare, reconciliation moves, including those initiated by him, had been undermined by Shonibare’s abnormal obsession for exploiting the party.
The Party has note that the National Executive Committee (NEC) expelled Chief Supo Shonibare in February 2019 for gross misconduct and serial anti-party activities and deposited evidence of such expulsion at the Federal High Court, Abuja in July 2020; and has noted furthermore the persistent attempts of the same Chief Shonibare to use multiple ways to misrepresent the Social Democratic Party and misinform the public.
The Party also notes Chief Shonibare’s endeavours to defraud unsuspecting party members, friends of SDP and the public through dubious requests for financial support and by impersonating as the SDP’s National Chairmanannouncing illegal fees for fake State Congresses and Convention and fake Expression of Interest Forms and Nomination Forms for political elections.
The Party hereby uses this media to announce a Public Disclaimer on Chief Supo Shonibare that he is not a member of the SDP but an impostor and impersonator aiming to defraud the public by posing as SDP National Chairman and indulging in criminal acts like soliciting for unauthorised fees and collecting monies under false pretexts.
The national leadership of the Party hereby wishes to warn all our Party members nationwide and the public in general not to deal with Chief Supo Shonibare on any matters 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 enforcing agencies.
Ambassador Rufus Aiyenigba,
National Publicity Secretary,
Social Democratic Party (SDP).
14 May 2022