The duo, alongside other PDP’s candidates in the Feb 25 National Assembly and the March 18 House of Assembly’s elections, filed the originating motion before Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja.
Rivers, Cross River PDP guber candidates, sue party over alleged planned suspension
Sir Siminlalayi Fubara, Rivers Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s governorship candidate and his deputy, Dr Ngozi Odu, in the Saturday’s election has sued the party and its national executive members over alleged planned to suspend them.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in the motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/123/2023, the plaintiffs numbering 50, listed PDP, its National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Committee (NEC) as 1st to 3rd respondents respectively.
Also joined in the suit filed by their counsel, Dr Joshua Musa, SAN, are the PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu; National Secretary, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 4th to 6th respondents respectively.
The 50 plaintiffs sought an order of injunction restraining the 1st to 5th defendants from suspending, expelling or in any manner do any act that would tamper with their fundamental rights.
They say these rights are uaranteed under Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Articles 10 and 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAP. AQ, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
They also sought an order of injunction restraining INEC from according any recognition to any suspension or expulsion or any other act(s) of the 1st to 5th respondents designed to violate their fundamental rights.
They prayed the court to declare that the threat to suspend, expel or tamper with their rights as members of PDP and its candidates at the general elections on account of the disagreement between the party’s national executives and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers where they hail from amounted to a denial of their rights.
NAN reports that earlier, Justice Ekwo had, on Jan. 31, ordered the plaintiffs to put the respondents on notice with respect to their prayer in the ex-parte motion seeking for an order directing them to maintain a status quo pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.
Also in their originating motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/215/2023, Sen. Sandy Onor, Cross River governorship candidate of the PDP, and his running mate, Ambrose Emana, dragged the PDP and the five respondents before Justice Ekwo.
They sought an order of injunction, restraining the PDP and its executives from suspending, expelling or in any manner, do any act that would tamper with their fundamental rights.
They also prayed the court for an order restraining INEC from according any recognition to any act of suspension or expulsion designed to violate their rights.
They urged the court to declare that the threat to suspend, expel or tamper with their rights as members of the party and its candidates in the March 18 general elections on account of the disagreement between the party’s executives and Governor Wike who was perceived to have a relationship with them amounted to a denial of their rights.
NAN reports that the judge had, on Feb. 17, ordered parties to maintain a status quo pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion, following an ex-parte motion moved in that regard by Dr Musa.
The PDP and its executives in a notice of preliminary objection filed by their lawyer, Johnson Usman, SAN, urged the court to dismiss the suit for being incurably defective and fatally incompetent.
Giving five grounds, Usman argued that the suit was incurably incompetent and ought to be struck out, in that the suit was not justiciable.
The senior lawyer said the suit constituted an abuse of court process as the matter dealt with internal and domestic matter of a political party.
He said the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain, hear and determine the matter being an intra-party matter dealing with membership of a political party.
Usman, argued that the 3rd and 4th respondents (the NEC and Ayu) were non-juristic persons.
He said the suit was pre-mature and incompetent, the plaintiffs having not exhausted the internal mechanism of the party as provided by Article 61 (1) (2) of the PDP Constitution (As Amended in 2017).
Also in the counter affidavit filed by the party, the lawyer submitted that the plaintiffs had no reasonable cause of action against the respondents.
He also said that there was no right guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution that prevented the party from exercising disciplinary powers over its erring members.
Usman, who urged the court to dismiss the suit in the integrate of justice, prayed the court to award a substantial cost against the plaintiffs.
Upon resumed hearing in the two suits on Wednesday, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until March 24 for hearing.
The development followed the motions brought by counsel to the parties, seeking for an extension of time to regularise their processes.
The judge also ordered that INEC should be served with a hearing notice ahead of the next adjourned date.
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