The governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers and Cross River states – Siminlalayi Fubara and Sandy Onor – have filed two suits at the Federal High Court in Abuja against the party and its national leadership over alleged plot to suspend them.
The suits also have the deputy governorship candidates in both states and candidates for the House of Assembly in Rivers State as other plaintiffs.
They are seeking to restrain the party and its leadership from giving effect to their alleged plot to suspend them.
The suit, filed by Rivers State candidates, has Fubara (governorship candidate) and Ngozi Odu (deputy governorship candidate) among the 50 plaintiffs.
Listed as defendant are: the PDP, its National Working Committee (NWC), the National Executive Committee (NEC), the party’s National Chairman Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The plaintiffs are, among others, praying the court to declare that the threat to suspend, expel or tamper with their rights as members of PDP and its candidates at the general election on account of the disagreement between the party’s national executives and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike amounted to a denial of their rights.
They area seeking an injunction restraining the PDP and its leadership, their agents or privies from suspending, expelling or in any manner do any act that would tamper with their fundamental rights guaranteed under Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Articles 10 and 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAP. AQ, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
The plaintiffs are also seeking an order of injunction restraining INEC from according any recognition to any suspension or expulsion or any other act(s) of the 1st to 5th respondents designed to violate their fundamental rights.
The suit, filed by the Cross River State candidates, has Onor and his running mate, Ambrose Emana, as plaintiffs, with the PDP and five others (as listed in in the first suit) as defendants.
Onor and Emana are seeking similar reliefs as the plaintiffs in the suit filed by the Rivers State candidates.
They are particularly praying the court to declare that the threat to suspend, expel or tamper with their rights as members of the party and its candidates in the March 18 poll, due to the disagreement between the party’s executives and Governor Wike, who was perceived to have a relationship with them, amounts to a denial of their rights.
Yesterday, lawyers to parties moved their motions for extension of time to regularise their processes, which the judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, granted and adjourned till March 24 for hearing.
They are also seeking an order restraining INEC from according any recognition to any act of suspension or expulsion designed to violate their rights.
Also, the PDP and its executives have filed a notice of preliminary objection, challenging the competence of both suits and the court’s jurisdiction to hear them.
In the objection filed by their lawyer, Johnson Usman (SAN), the defendants urged the court to dismiss the suits for being incurably defective and fatally incompetent.
The defendants averred that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain, hear the case, which relates to an intra-party matter, dealing with membership of a political party.
Also in the counter-affidavit filed by the defendants are contending that the plaintiffs had no reasonable cause of action against the respondents.
They added that there was no right guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution that prevented the party from exercising disciplinary powers over its erring members.
Source: The Nation