A Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja has restrained the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from removing Sen. Samuel Anyanwu as national secretary pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling, granted the ex-parte motion moved by Joshua Musa, SAN, on Thursday, a copy of the order made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday.
Justice Ekwo subsequently adjourned the matter until Dec. 4 for hearing of the motion on notice.
NAN reports that two members of the party; Geoffrey Ihentuge and Apollo’s Godspower had sued the PDP, Umar Aliyu Damagun (acting National Chairman) and National Executive Committee (NEC) as 1st to 3rd defendants.
Others are the National Working Committee (NWC) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 4th to 5th defendants respectively.
The motion was brought pursuant to Order 26, Rules 2 and 6; Order 28, Rules 1 and 2 if the FHC (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The plaintiffs, who sought five reliefs, prayed for an order of interim injunction, restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants from carrying out the threat to remove the national secretary (Anyanwu).
This, he said, is a violation of the provisions of Article 47 (1) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017) pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
They sought an order restraining the PDP and its executives from preventing Anyanwu discharge his functions as an elected national Officer as contained in Article 36(1) of the Constitution of the party.
They also sought an order of interim injunction restraining them from appointing any person as acting national secretary of the party when Anyanwu’s tenure is still running and subsisting until Dec. 9, 2025 pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
They equally sought an order restraining INEC (5th defendant) from recognising any purported appointment of any person as PDP’s national secretary whether in acting capacity or otherwise other than Anyanwu, whose tenure of four years was still running and subsisting until Dec. 9, 2025 pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice, among others.
Giving a 16-ground argument, the plaintiffs argued that Article 47(1) of the PDP Constitution provided for a tenure of four years for its executive committees at all levels from the date of inauguration.
They argued that Anyanwu was duly elected on Dec. 10, 2021 and was entitled to remain in office till Dec. 9, 2025.
They said that an elected national officer of the 1st defendant cannot be arbitrarily removed from office in any manner howsoever without his resignation and in breach of party’s constitution.
They argued that there must be a vote of no confidence as required by Article 47(3) of the party’s constitution proposed or moved at a national convention before a national officer like Anyanwu could be removed from office, among other arguments.
Justice Ekwo granted the prayers after the motion was moved.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Anyanwu was the PDP candidate in the Nov. 11 Imo governorship election where Sen. Hope Uzodinma of All Progressives Congress (APC) was re-elected.
The PDP’s NWC had, on Nov. 14, asked Anyanwu to step aside and directed Setonji Koshoedo to take over as acting national secretary.
Until his appointment, Koshoedo was the deputy national secretary.
PDP acting National Chairman, Damagum, who announced after the NWC meeting, explained that Koshoedo’s appointment was pending the resolution of the issues.
NAN also reports that arising from its Southeast Zonal Executive Committee meeting held in Enugu on Oct. 20, PDP National Vice Chairman, Ali Odefa, declared that the zone had unanimously nominated the former party National Youth Leader, Sunday Udeh-Okoye, as the new national secretary.
Consequently, a High Court in Enugu on Oct. 23 restrained Anyanwu from parading himself as national secretary and ordered Damagum to recognise Udek-Okoye as party’s scribe.
The order was equally reaffirmed on Nov. 7.
Explaining the decision of the NWC, Damagum said: “Since there are conflicting court orders, we urged the two sides to stand down.
“And we have agreed and appointed the deputy national secretary to continue to act as secretary pending the time we will resolve all the issues; the conflicting court orders and resolutions of the southeast matter.”(NAN)