On Wednesday, the People’s Democratic Party’s national body was prevented by the Federal High Court in Abuja from dissolving the party’s Rivers State Executive Committee (SEC) for alleged anti-party conduct.
Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled that Desmond Akawo’s lawsuit should be granted since it had merit.
The PDP and its former national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, and many members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Committee (NEC) were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by Rivers PDP chairman Akawo.
In the updated originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/112/2023 submitted by his counsel Joshua Musa, SAN on March 9, the plaintiff now added the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a third defendant.
Akawo asked the court to rule on whether or not the Rivers SEC was entitled to serve its term in light of Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 47(1) of the PDP Constitution (as revised in 2017).
He claimed that the state congress conducted on March 21, 2020 gave him and the other members of the Rivers PDP SEC, LGA executive committees, and ward executive committees the right to serve out their full four-year terms, which would end on or around May 22, 2024.
According to the affidavit Akawo personally deposed to, the PDP and its national chairman threatened to disband the Rivers PDP SEC and replace it with an interim caretaker committee on January 4, only days before the general elections.
He claimed that neither he nor any other state committee member had ever been questioned previous to the threat.
To prevent the party and the national chairman from dissolving, suspending, or shortening the tenure of the Rivers’ SEC, LGA executive committees, and the ward executive committees before their four-year term expires on May 22, 2024, he asked the court for an order of injunction, among other reliefs.
According to Justice Ekwo, neither the PDP nor its national chairman denied Akawo’s claims.
The first and second defendants have basically acknowledged the plaintiff’s argument on this matter.
“The law is that admitted facts need no further proof,” he stated.
A judge ruled in Akawo’s favor, granting all of his requested reliefs and ruling that the party and its national chairman cannot unilaterally and without fair cause dissolve the state executives who were democratically elected for a four-year period.
In addition, he issued an injunction prohibiting them from selecting a new caretaker committee for the state before May 22, 2024.
In addition, Justice Ekwo issued an injunction order prohibiting INEC from recognizing or recognising any PDP caretaker committee in the state other than those duly elected and represented by Akawo in the complaint.