Politics

Court delays decision on suit compelling PDP to hold NEC meeting

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has adjourned hearing on a suit filed by a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Otunba Segun Sowunmi, seeking an order directing the party leadership to hold a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) for the purpose of presenting the activities of the party from the date of the last NEC meeting held on September 8, 2022.

The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/70/2024, has been adjourned till March 4, 2024.

The defendants in the suit are the PDP, its National Chairman, Umar Illiya Damagun, National Secretary, Sen Samuel Anyanwu, National Organizing Secretary, Capt Umar Nature, National Auditor, Okechukwu Daniel, National Treasurer, Hon. Ahmed Mohammed Yayari, Youth Leader, Mohammed Suleimane Kadade (for themselves as officers of and on behalf of the NEC/National Working Committee of the PDP), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

During Thursday’s session, the plaintiff’s counsel, Anderson Asemota, informed the court of difficulties serving the 2nd to 7th defendants in the case. According to the plaintiff, despite efforts, they couldn’t be served, while the 1st and 8th defendants (PDP and INEC) were successfully served. Asemota filed a motion seeking substituted service for the unserved defendants.

Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon granted the plaintiff’s request for substituted service and set the next hearing for March 4.

Sowunmi is petitioning the court to compel the 1st to 7th defendants to convene a NEC meeting of the PDP to present proposed election guidelines and procedures for selecting candidates. Additionally, they seek an injunction against the 2nd to 8th defendants from performing their duties until a NEC meeting is held in compliance with the party’s constitution.

The plaintiff argues that as the party’s spokesperson during the last election, they are obligated under the amended 2017 PDP constitution to file the suit to uphold the party’s objectives and ensure adherence to Article 7 of the constitution by members and national officers.

“A declaration that under and by virtue of the provisions of Article 31(2)(4), and (5) of the PDP constitution and Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the 1st to 7th defendants are obligated to call or cause to be called and held quarterly or at the request of one-third of members of NEC of the PDP, the meeting of the NEC of the PDP at which the 1st to 7th defendants shall present quarterly financial reports or income and expenditure of the party to the members of the NEC.

“A declaration that, under and by virtue of the provisions of Article 31(2)(4), and (5) of the PDP constitution and Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the 1st to 7th defendants are obligated to call for or cause to be called and held quarterly or at the request of one-third of members of the NEC of the PDP at which the defendants shall present quarterly reports containing the activities of the PDP to the members of the NEC”.

He also wants the court to declare that the defendants are obligated to call for a PDP NEC meeting to present proposed guidelines and regulations governing the conduct of elections to the party offices at all levels and procedures for selecting party candidates for elective offices to the NEC members.

“A declaration that, having failed, refused, and/or neglected to call for a meeting and held quarterly or at the request of one-third of members of the NEC of PDP in which the 8th defendant (INEC) ought to have been invited, the 1st to 7th defendants are in breach and/or violation of the constitution of the party and the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022”.

In an affidavit in support of the suit, the plaintiff averred that the last NEC meeting of the party was last convened by the sacked National Chairman of the party, Sen. Iyorcha Ayu, on September 8, 2022.

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