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Court to hear suit asking PDP NWC to convene NEC meeting, Feb. 8

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The Federal High Court Abuja on Tuesday, fixed Feb. 8 to hear a suit challenging the Peoples Democratic Party , (PDP) for failure to convene a National Executive Counsel, (NEC) meeting within the constitutionally stipulated period.

 A PDP governorship aspirant in Ogun  during the 2023 general elections, Mr Segun Sowunmi filed the suit marked (FHC/ABJ/CS/T024)  at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Sowunmi listed the PDP, Acting National Chairman, Mr Iliya Damagum and the National Secretary, Mr Samuel Anyanwu as respondents.

Other respondents are the National Organising Secretary, Mr Umar Bature, National Auditor, Mr Okechukwu Daniel the National Treasurer, Mr Ahmed Yayari, the National Youth Leader Mr Muhammed Kadade and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).

When the matter was called, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Anderson Asemota told the court that the matter was coming up for the first time.

Asemota said that so far, he had served the 1st and 8th respondents (the PDP and INEC) with court processes.

He, however, said he had yet to serve the 2nd to 7th respondents because he had attempted to serve them to no avail.

“My lord, it is based on this that I have filed a motion for substituted service, unfortunately, it is not in the records of the court.

“In view of this, we shall be asking for a short date to enable us take our motion for substituted service,” Asemota submitted.

The judge, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon asked the counsel to make another attempt at serving the respondents personally and give a report of service on the next adjourned date.

She adjourned the matter until Feb. 8 for report of service or for the plaintiff to present his argument on the motion for substituted service.

The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that Sowunmi, through Asemota accused the PDP National Working Committee, (NWC) of failing in their responsibility of being accountable to  members of the party.

He said this was based on the grounds that it was more than a year since the last NEC meeting was held yet  the party leadership had refused to conduct mandatory quarterly meetings since the last elections.

The plaintiff, in his originating summons  said that the NEC meeting was an important component of the party structure as it afforded members the opportunity to present quarterly reports on financial matters, including income and expenditures.

He, however, said that since the presidential and national assembly elections of 2023, as well as the gubernatorial elections there had been no such report.

He contended that refusing to hold the NEC meeting violated the party’s constitution.

He claimed that attempts by him to appeal to party officials to convene a NEC meeting were disregarded in spite of the pending elections in Ondo and Edo which required adequate preparation and planning.

He posed some questions for the court to interpret as part of efforts to support his suit.

“Whether upon a proper construction and interpretation of the provisions of Articles 31(2)(d),[4) &(5) of the Peoples’ Democratic Party Constitution(as amended in 2017), the plaintiff being a registered member and spokesperson of the party during the last general election is not obligated/entitled to bring this action to give effect to the aims and objectives of the PDP as enshrined in Article seven of the PDP Constitution  (as amended in 2017).

” To also ensure that these provisions of the PDP Constitution are observed and respected by members and national officers.

“Whether upon a proper construction and interpretation of the provisions of Articles 31(2)(d),(4) &(5) of the PDP Constitution  the 1st to 7th defendants are not obligated to call for or cause to be called and held quarterly or at the request of one-third of members of the NEC of the PDP the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the PDP at which the defendants shall present quarterly financial reports on income and expenditure of the party to the members of the National Executive Committee.

“Whether upon a proper construction and interpretation of the provisions of Articles 31(2)(d),(4)&(5) of the PDP Constitution the 1st to 7th defendants are not obligated to call for or cause to be called and held quarterly or at the request of one-third of members of the NEC of the PDP the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the PDP at which the defendants shall present quarterly reports containing the activities of the PDP to the members of the National Executive Committee.”

He further prayed that should the questions posed for determination be resolved in his favour , the court should grant all the reliefs he was seeking.

“A declaration  that under and by virtue of the provisions of Article 31(2)(d), (4) & (5) of the PDP Constitution, the plaintiff being a registered member and spokesperson of the party during the last election is obligated and/or entitled to bring this action to give effect to the aims and objectives of the PDP as enshrined in Article 7 of the party’s and to ensure that these provisions of the PDP Constitution are observed and respected by members and national officers.

“A declaration that under and by virtue of the provisions of Articles 31(2)(4)&(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 one-third of members of the NEC of the PDP the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the PDP.

“At this meeting,  the 1st to 7th defendants shall present quarterly financial reports on income and expenditure of the party to the members of the National Executive Committee.

“A declaration that under and by virtue of the provisions of Article Articles 31(2)(4)&(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 one-third of members of the NEC of the PDP the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the PDP at which the defendants shall present quarterly reports containing the activities of the PDP to the members of the National Executive Committee.”

He, therefore, prayed the court to make an order compelling the party’s officials to convene the NEC meeting and a restraining order preventing the party and INEC from further delays. (NAN)

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