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PDP convention: Court to decide on Friday

Posted by By GODWIN TSA, ABUJA on 2008/03/08 | Views: 584 |

PDP convention: Court to decide on Friday


Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will wait till Friday to know whether the National Convention of the party billed for Saturday would hold as scheduled.

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will wait till Friday to know whether the National Convention of the party billed for Saturday would hold as scheduled.

This follows adjournment of the suit which some aggrieved members of the PDP filed before an Abuja High Court, asking that the event be suspended.

This is coming at time the trial judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, ordered that personal service be effected on the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BOT) and former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, chairman of the Convention Committee and, on others who are yet to be served.
The court had earlier granted an order of substituted service to the plaintiffs to serve the seven respondents with the copies of the suit through the National Headquarters of PDP located at Wadata Plaza zone 5 Wuse.

The court said it was misled into granting the order since all the respondents could not be reached through the party’s national secretariat.
Also on Tuesday, the court granted an oral application to join Chief Tony Anyanwu, an aspirant to the chairmanship of the PDP.

His lawyer, Bassey Ewang, had told the court that his client would suffer irreparable and unquantifiable damage if the case goes on without his participation in the matter.
On why there is need to vary the order of substituted service, the court noted that the 2nd to 6th respondents were sued in their individual capacity and not in their official capacity.

For instance, the court observed that Obasanjo (3rd respondent and chairman, Board of Trustees of PDP) had his personal name mentioned first before the appellation, pointing out that it would have been his appellation first before his personal name before it would be rightly deemed that he was served in his official capacity as chairman of Board of Trustees of PDP.
Against this background, the court ordered that motion would be heard in respect of varying the order of substituted service.

Barrister Festus Keyamo had opposed the oral applications by both counsels to 2nd to 6th respondents and counsel to Anyanwu on the grounds that his interest would not be affected without his participation in the case.

The court had ordered a faction of the PDP seeking to stop the planned convention to serve the leadership of the party with copies of the suit before hearing on the 4th of March 2008
The plaintiffs, Alhaji Abdullahi Maibirgi, Chief Iroha C.Iroha and Hajia Ceceko Asmau Ahmed went to court seeking to stop the planned March 8 National convention of the party on the ground that it was not constitutionally convened.

The Plaintiffs in their 38 statements of claims pointed out that the National Executive Committee (NEC) was not the one calling for the convention but the National Central Working Committee (NCWC), an action they noted contravened the constitution of the party.

Named as respondents are, the PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali (immediate past chairman, Peoples Democratic Party), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (Chairman Board of Trustees, Peoples Democratic Party), Chief Olabode George (Deputy National Chairman, South and Chairman, Convention Planning Committee, Peoples Democratic Party). Others are Chief Bernard Eze (Immediate past National Secretary, (PDP), Mallam Adamu Ciroma (Chairman National Convention Electoral Panel, (PDP) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

They accordingly asked the court to declare that it is only the NEC of the party that can validly and legally call for national convention and not the NCWC.
They specifically sought the court to “declare that by virtue of the provision of Article 12.72[a] both the 2001 and 2006 1st defendant party’s constitution and section 1(3) A-C of the Guidelines for the year 2007 Special Congress and Special National Convention, which are extant and applicable, to the 2008 Convention and Congresses, only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the 1st defendant can convene the National convention and appoint a Convention organizing committee, congresses, appeal panels and convention monitoring committees of the 1st defendant party’’

Similarly, they prayed the court to declare that Chief Ahmadu Ali, Chief Olabode George and Chief Bernard Eze could not legally constitute and participate in the NEC meeting of 28th January, 2008 which ‘’purportedly set the dates for the national convention and congresses having duly resigned from their respective positions as National Chairman, Deputy National Chairman, South and National Secretary’’ of PDP

They further prayed the court to declare that that Ali, George and Eze could not have legally participated in the National Working Committee (NWC) meeting of PDP that “purportedly convened the National Convention and Congresses and consequently the decisions taken’’ at the meeting to organize the national convention and the appointment of any congresses, convention organizing committees, appeal panels and convention monitoring committees are illegal, irregular unconstitutional and non and void and to no effect whatsoever.

Besides, the plaintiffs noted that the December 16, 2006 convention of PDP conditions precedent to the amendment of 2001 constitution as provided in Article 26 were violated, stating, “no motion was passed by any two-third majority of members present… No notice of the proposed amendment was given by the National Secretary at least two months before the date of the convention and for these, no amendment would be deemed fit to have taken place.”

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