A Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday restrained the national body of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from dissolving the Rivers State chapter of the State Executive Committee (SEC), over alleged anti-party activities.
Delivering judgment, Justice Inyang Ekwo said he found that the case of the plaintiff, Mr. Desmond Akawo, succeeded on merit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akawo, the Rivers’ PDP chairman, had sued the party and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, the former national chairman representing himself and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Committee (NEC)) as 1st and 2nd defendants.
The plaintiff also joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 3rd defendant in the amended originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/112/2023 and filed on March 9 by his counsel, Dr. Joshua Musa, SAN.
Akawo sought the court’s determination whether having regard to Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 47(1) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017), they were not entitled to serve out their term.
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He said he and other members of the SEC, the LGA executive committees and the ward executive committee were elected and sworn-in pursuant to the state’s congress held on March 21, 2020 and were entitled to complete their four-year term, which expires on or about May 22, 2024.
Akawo, in the affidavit which he personally deposed to, averred that the PDP and its national chairman on January 4, prior to the general election, threatened to unilaterally dissolve the Rivers’ chapter of SEC and replace the same with an Interim Caretaker Committee.
He, however, said prior to the threat, neither any member of the state committee nor himself had ever been queried by them.
He, therefore, sought an order of injunction restraining the party and the national chairman from dissolving, suspending or truncating the tenure of the Rivers’ SEC, the LGA executive committees and the ward executive committees until May 22, 2024, when their four-year term would expire, among other reliefs.
Justice Ekwo held that the PDP and its national chairman did not deny Akawo’s averments.
“Essentially, the 1st and 2nd defendants have admitted the case of the plaintiff on this issue.
“The law is that facts admitted need no further proof;” he said.
The judge, who granted Akawo’s reliefs, declared that the party and its national chairman cannot unilaterally and without reasonable cause, dissolve the state’s EXCOs who were democratically elected for a four-year period.
He also gave an order of injunction, restraining them from appointing any person or group of persons as interim caretaker committee in the state until May 22, 2024.
Justice Ekwo further gave an injunction order restraining INEC from according recognition or accepting any name as caretaker committee of the PDP in the state except those democratically elected and represented by Akawo in the suit.