A Federal High Court in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on Wednesday sacked the State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caretaker Committee led by Fred Udogu,
The court, which said the caretaker committee was illegal, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to recognise it.
The court held that the dissolution of the Ebonyi State Executive Committee of the PDP was illegal and cannot stand.
The court judgement followed a suit instituted by Nnachi Okoro, the legal adviser of the Onyekachi Nwebonyu-led PDP executive in Ebonyi state, which was dissolved in November by the national leadership of the Party, after Governor David Umahi’s defection to the All Progressives Congress.
The Plaintiff, Mr Okoro, had argued that his purported removal from office as the legal adviser of the PDP by virtue of the dissolution of the purported State Executive Committee of the Party without fair hearing, was contrary to the party’s constitution and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The judge, Aluko Akintayo, in a three-hour judgement, ruled that the purported dissolution of the Executive Committee of the PDP in Ebonyi State which led to the removal of the plaintiff, “was not only absurd, but inconsistent with the provisions of the party’s constitution as well as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Justice Akintayo noted that the party “acted harshly without any evidence of wrongdoing against the plaintiff”. He added that the defection of Governor Umahi to the APC “was in exercise of his fundamental human right of freedom of association and cannot be a justifiable ground to remove the plaintiff from office”.
The judge held that PDP failed to prove its allegations of anti-party activities and attempts to destabilise the PDP levelled against the Ebonyi State Executive Committee of the party.
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According to the judge, “even if there was truth in the allegations against the Ebonyi state Executive Committee of the party, it was unfair to have dissolved them, including the plaintiff, without giving him fair hearing”.
The court further ruled that in view of section 2 of the PDP constitution, which is subject to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there was no justification for the leadership of the party to have breached its own constitution.
The court maintained that the plaintiff, having been duly elected to serve as the legal adviser of the PDP, “had acquired a vested right to occupy the office until his tenure elapsed”.
Consequently, the court declared the action of PDP “illegal, null, and void”. It ordered the party not to recognise any other legal adviser in Ebonyi State, until the expiration of the plaintiff’s tenure.The legal adviser to the Fred Udeogu-led PDP executive, Mudi Erhenede, said they would appeal the judgment.
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