Unease in PDP as court resumes hearing on election of NWC members

President Jonathan and party chiefs at a PDP National Convention

Abuja High Court decides whether 17 leaders of the ruling party were duly elected at March 2012 National Convention.

An Abuja High Court will on Monday continue hearing on the propriety or otherwise of the election of 17 members of the National Working Committee, NWC of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The court presided over by Suliman Belgore had on May 20 fixed June 10 for definite hearing on the suit filed by three members of the party challenging the election of the NWC members at the March 2012 convention in Abuja.

Before he adjourned the hearing, the judged had ordered the plaintiffs and defendants to file all their papers and warned that he would not entertain any distraction.

Some of the NWC members whose election is being disputed are the Deputy National Chairman, Sam Sam Jaja; National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh; National Organising Secretary Abubakar Mustapha; Deputy National Organising Secretary, Okechukwu Nnadozie; Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Binta Goje; National Youth Leader, Garba Chiza; Deputy Youth Leader, Dennis Alonge Niyi; Deputy National Auditor, Umar Ibrahim; National Women Leader, Kema Chikwe; Deputy National Women Leader, Hannatu Ulam; Deputy National Treasurer, Claudus Inengas; and National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwom.

The PDP leaders are said to be apprehensive ahead of the hearing as the suit will determine if they will continue to occupy their positions.

The plaintiffs, Abba Yale, Bashir Maidugu- both indigenes of Borno State- and Yahaya Sule who is from Taraba State, asked the court to enforce the report of the Independent National Election Commission, INEC, which invalidated the election of the NWC members.

In a report it compiled on the convention, the Commission, faulted the election of the leaders, saying it breached the provisions of the party’s constitution.

The report, however, cleared four members of the NWC, namely the National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur; National Financial Secretary, Bolaji Anani; National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and; National Auditor, Bode Mustapha.

In a 27-page affidavit, the three PDP members contended that the workings and/or activities of the first defendants (PDP) including the conduct of future nomination or election of candidates into public offices would be jeopardized if the officials continue to occupy their positions.

They also claimed that INEC which monitored the convention “observed and reported that the mode of election adopted for single candidates was not in accordance with the mode of election stipulated in paragraph 6.0 (ii) of page 17 of the Guidelines for the conduct of year 2012 convention and therefore unacceptable to the commission.”

The plaintiffs stated that the “PDP arbitrarily caused the return of the second, fourth, sixth and eighteenth defendants into each of their various National Offices,” stressing that “as a result of the actions of the first defendant, the first and second plaintiffs were denied the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.”

They also asked the court to determine whether the purported appointment or selection by affirmation and continuous appointment of the 3rd – 6th, 8th – 18th defendants is a nullity by virtue of the provisions of Articles 2 and 85 of the Constitution of the PDP 2009 (as amended).

Other reliefs sought are that there should be an order to nullify the selection, affirmation and or appointments of the 2nd – 18th as national officers of the first defendant (PDP)” and another order “compelling the 1st defendants to conduct fresh elections into the national offices held by the 2nd – 18th defendants.”

During the last sitting of the court on the matter, the NWC members had asked the court to strike out the suit.

They argued that the three plaintiffs did not have the locus standi to file the suit because they are not card-carrying members of the ruling party.

The party chieftains also in their preliminary objections opposed the hearing of the originating summons, stating that the issues raised for determination were not justifiable.

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