There was a dramatic twist to the suit seeking to oust Adamu Mu’azu as the national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Wednesday, as his predecessor, Bamanga Tukur, demanded his reinstatement to the job.
Mr. Tukur resigned from office in January following campaigns mounted by party members that he should do so barely two years after his election at its convention in March 2012.
He was succeeded by Mr. Mu’azu.
But a member of the PDP, Aliyu Gurin, recently filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking Mr. Mu’azu’s sack and also to stop the party’s coming delegates’ convention slated for December 11 and 12.
Mr. Gurin, a House of Representatives aspirant from Adamawa State, contended that Mr. Tukur’s resignation did not comply with the provision of Section 47(5) of the constitution of the party.
The section stipulates that a 30-day notice be given to the National Executive Committee by a national chairman resigning from office.
Mr. Tukur was joined as second defendant in the suit while Mr. Mu’azu and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, are 1st and 3rd respondents.
However, in a counter-claim filed at the court registry by his counsel, Adamson Adeboro on Wednesday, Mr. Tukur asked the court to grant an order to allow him return to office until 2016 when his four-year tenure ought to have expired.
The former national chairman argued that he was forced to quit the job to pave way for the return of some governors who defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC, to return to the ruling party.
The governors are Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).
Mr. Tukur, a former governor of the old Gongola State, said following the defection of the governors, the PDP leader, President Goodluck Jonathan came under pressure to sack him as national chairman to enable them come back.
He asked for an order to set aside his purported resignation letter of January 15 and restore him to his job as substantive and duly-elected chairman of the PDP.
He also asked the court to stop the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from further “recognizing, permitting or allowing Mu’azu to preside over the affairs of the party”.
Mr. Tukur asked the court to declare his resignation and the appointment of Mr. Mu’azu null and void in line with Section 45(1) and (2) of the PDP constitution.
The former PDP national chairman had earlier asked the court to determine whether his purported resignation was in conjunction with Section 47(5) of the party’s constitution as amended.
He further asked the court to decide if Mu’azu’s appointment contravened Section 45(1) and (2) of the party constitution, Section 85(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 and Section 223(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
In a seven-paragraph affidavit in support of the counter claim deposed to by one Femi Ekperobe, the former national chairman said he stepped aside to enable the defected governors return, but that to his chagring, they are yet to do so 10 months after.
Mr. Tukur said even if he were to resign following pressure mounted on him, the party’s constitution demands that he should hand over to his deputy, who will act as national chairman pending the convening of a national convention where a substantive national chairman would now be elected.
He insisted that the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party lacked the power to appoint the national chairman.
According to him, the votes and proceedings of the NEC meeting of January 15, the day he resigned, were a nullity.
He said his letter of resignation contravened Section 47 (5) of the PDP constitution.
Mr. Tukur said Mr. Mu’azu lacked the power to preside over the coming convention.
The former national chairman, however, said it would be in the interest of all parties if status quo ante bellum was maintained, pending the coming convention during which a new chairman would be elected.
The trial judge, Justice Evoh Chukwu, will hear Mr. Tukur’s request on Thursday.