The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Wednesday restrained the national body of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from dissolving the Rivers’ 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, Desmond Akawo, succeeded on merit.
Mr Akawo, the Rivers’ PDP chairman, had sued the party and Iyorchia Ayu, the immediate-past national chairman, representing himself and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Committee (NEC) as first and second defendants.
The plaintiff also joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the third defendant in the amended originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/112/2023 and filed on March 9 by his counsel, Joshua Musa, SAN.
Mr Akawo sought the court’s determination whether, regarding 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 their term.
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.
Mr Akawo, in the affidavit, averred that the PDP and its national chairman on January 4, before the general elections, threatened to unilaterally dissolve the Rivers’ chapter of SEC and replace it with an interim caretaker committee.
He, however, said before 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 Mr Akawo’s averments.
“Essentially, the first and second 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 all of Mr Akawo’s reliefs, declared that the party and its national chairman could not unilaterally and, without reasonable cause, dissolve the state’s EXCOs, who were democratically elected for four years.
He also ordered an 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 recognising or accepting any name as a caretaker committee of the PDP in the state except those democratically elected and represented by Mr Akawo in the suit.