Suit seeking to compel PDP NEC meeting shifted till March 4
A Federal High Court, Abuja has shifted till March 4, hearing in a suit filed by a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun state, Otumba Segun Sowunmi seeking an order to compel the party leadership to hold the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) for the purpose of presenting the activities of the party from the date of the last NEC meeting held on September 8, 2022.
The suit, marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/70/2024 has the PDP, its National Chairman, Umar Illiya Damagun, National Secretary, Samuel Anyanwu, National Organizing Secretary, Capt Umar Bature, National Auditor, Okechukwu Daniel, National treasurer, Hon. Ahmed Mohammed Yayari, Youth leader, Mohammed Suleiman Kadade (For themselves as officers of and on behalf of the NEC/National Working Committee of the PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st to 8th defendants.
At Thursday’s proceedings, counsel to the plaintiff, Anderson Asemota told the court that he could not serve the 2nd to 7th defendants in the matter with the processes of the court because all efforts to serve them proved abortive but had served the 1st and 8th defendants (the PDP and INEC) with the court processes.
He said he had filed a motion seeking to serve the court processes on the 2nd to 7th defendants through substituted means.
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The trial judge, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon granted the plaintiff’s request for an order of substituted service of court processes on the 2nd to 7th defendants and adjourned the matter till March 4 for hearing.
Sowunmi is praying the court for an order, directing the 1st to 7th defendants to call a NEC meeting of the PDP for the purpose of presenting the proposed guidelines and regulations governing the conduct of elections to the party offices at all levels and procedures for selecting party candidates for elective offices to the members of the NEC.
He is also seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd to 8th defendants by themselves or their servants, agents or privies from functioning or continue to function or discharge the functions of their offices until they call for or cause to be called and hold meeting of the PDP’s NEC in total fidelity and obeisance of the party’s constitution.
The plaintiff wants the court to declare that by virtue of the provisions of Article 31(2)(d), 4 and 5 of the PDP constitution (as amended in 2017), he, as spokesman of the party during the last election is obligated and/or entitled to file the suit to give effect to the aims and objectives of the PDP and to ensure that the provisions of Article 7 of the PDP constitution are observed and respected by members and national officers.
“A declaration that under and by virtue of the provisions of Article 31 (2)(4) and (5) of the PDP constitution and Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the 1st to 7th defendants are obligated to call or cause to be called and held quarterly or at the request of one-third of members of NEC of the PDP, the meeting of the NEC of the PDP at which the 1st to 7th defendants shall be present quarterly financial reports or income and expenditure of the party to the members of the NEC.
“A declaration that, under and by virtue and the provisions of Article 31 (2)(4) and (5) of the PDP constitution and Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the 1st to 7th defendants are obligated to call for or cause to be called and held quarterly or at the request of the one-third of members of the NEC of the PDP at which the defendants shall present quarterly reports containing the activities of the PDP to the members of the NEC”.
He also wants the court to declare that the defendants are under obligation to call for a PDP NEC meeting to present proposed guidelines and regulations governing the conduct of elections to the party offices at all levels and procedures of selecting party candidates for elective offices to the NEC members.
“A declaration that, having failed, refused and/or neglected to call for a meeting and held quarterly or at the request of one-third of members of the NEC of PDP in which the 8th defendant (INEC) ought to have been invited, the 1st to 7th defendants are in the breach and/or violation of the constitution of the party and the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022”.
In an affidavit in support of the suit, the plaintiff averred that the last NEC meeting of the party was last convened by the sacked National Chairman of the party, Sen. Iyorcha Ayu on September 8, 2022.
The NEC, he said is saddled with the responsibility of fixing and approving the date of the party’s national convention, which is the highest decision-making organ of the party and that all efforts to get the defendants to call for NEC meeting proved abortive as the “defendants have woefully failed, refused and/or neglected to response to my entreaties viva voce and repeated demand for a NEC meeting as well as the letter written by my solicitors in that regard.
“That, it is in the interest of justice to grant the claims or reliefs sought by the plaintiff in the originating summons as the defendants will not be prejudiced”, he said