Abuja court restrains Baraje-led faction from parading self as PDP

An Abuja High Court on Friday ordered the Kawu Baraje-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party to desist from parading itself as a parallel faction of the ruling party.

The court also recognised the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee of the party as the authentic leadership of the party.

Mr. Tukur and other members of the National Working Committee, NWC, who were elected at the Special National Convention on August 31, had instituted the case seeking to restrain Mr. Baraje and two others from parading themselves as executive members of the party.

The others are the factional deputy National Chairman, Sam Jaja, and factional National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola. A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who is a member of the faction, was also joined in the suit.

The ruling by the court came a week after a High Court sitting in Lagos dismissed a suit filed by the Baraje faction against the Bamanga Tukur-led leadership of the party.

Justice Adefope Okojie dismissed the suit on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter because it originated outside its territorial jurisdiction.

The Baraje faction had approached the court on September 1 , asking it to restrain Mr. Tukur and three other officials of his faction- namely Uche Secondus, Kema Chikwe, and Olisa Metuh, who are the Deputy National Chairman, Woman Leader, and National Publicity Secretary respectively, from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

The decision of the Lagos court followed the preliminary objection filed by counsels to Mr. Tukur- Joe Kyari-Gadzama, and Emeka Etiaba.

Both Counsels argued that the writs of summons did not comply with the mandatory requirements of Section 97 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act because they were not endorsed.

However, counsel to Mr. Baraje and two other officials of his faction, Robert Emukpaeruo, in his reply to the objection, argued that the court had jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Justice Okojie, however, stated in her ruling that even Mr. Baraje and his group had claimed in their affidavit that the course of action, which was the special national convention of the PDP, arose in Abuja.

The judge said the PDP had its registered office in Abuja and that none of the defendants was resident in Lagos State.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had also on October 2nd turned down the request by the Kawu Baraje faction to recognise its National Working Committee, NWC, as the authentic leadership of the ruling party.

The Commission, in a letter to the factional National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, said it would not withdraw recognition of the National Working Committee, NWC, led by Bamanga Tukur, as the authentic leadership of the PDP because it monitored the conventions that produced it.

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