By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Federal High Court, Tuesday in Abuja, affirmed Samuel Anyanwu as the National Secretary of the People Democratic Party (PDP).
In his ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo restrained the PDP leadership from removing the applicant as the party’s national secretary, and granting all his reliefs, he stated that the applicant sufficiently argued his case according to the law.
The plaintiffs had sued the PDP, the acting National Chairman, Damagun, and the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) as 1st to 3rd defendants, as well as the National Working Committee (NWC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 4th and 5th defendants, respectively.
The motion was brought pursuant to Order 26, Rules 2 and 6, and Order 28, Rules 1 and 2 of the FHC (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
Seeking five reliefs, the plaintiffs prayed for an order of interim injunction restraining the 1st to 4th defendants from carrying out the threat to remove Anyanwu as the national secretary pending the determination of the motion on notice, in line with the provisions of Article 47 (1) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).
They further argued that Anyanwu was duly elected on December 10, 2021, and was entitled to remain in office till December 9, 2025. They stated that except on grounds of resignation, any arbitrary removal from office of an elected national officer of the status of the 1st defendant breaches the party’s constitution.
However, in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants’ counter-affidavit deposed to by Jeremiah Joel, a litigation secretary in a law firm, the party’s leadership averred that contrary to paragraphs 22 and 23 of the plaintiffs’ affidavit, the NWC approved the deputy national secretary to act in place of the national secretary as provided for in Article 36(2) of the party’s constitution.
“In the absence of the national secretary, there cannot be a vacuum, and the constitution of the party provided for how such vacuum could be filled until the resumption of the national secretary,” they said.
They stated that contrary to the plaintiffs’ argument, Anyanwu applied for leave of absence to enable him concentrate on his election as Imo State gubernatorial candidate, which took place on Nov. 11.
They further submitted that “it is not correct that 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants ever threatened the national secretary but instead granted him leave of absence to enable him concentrate on his election into the office of Governor of Imo State.”
Upon resumed hearing on Tuesday, only INEC was not represented in court. Plaintiffs’ counsel, Musa, confirmed to court that the commission was duly served on December 11th, 2023, hence, he urged the court to hear their matter.
Mohammed Atolagbe, who appeared for 1st to 4th defendants, informed the court that they filed their responses to the plaintiffs’ processes, relying on the contents in their application and the exhibit attached, including the written address as their argument in the matter.
Adopting their application, Musa said the originating summons had a 24-paragraph affidavit and a written address which he adopted in urging the court to grant their prayers. He added that they also filed a reply affidavit to motion for interlocutory injunction.
After counsel’s adoption of their processes, Justice Ekwo reserved judgment till a date that would be communicated to the parties.