Court Sacks Udeogu-led Ebonyi PDP Caretaker Committee
By Ruth Oginyi
The Court has sacked the people’s Democratic Party caretaker committee led by Fred, Udeogu in Ebonyi State.
Udeogu’s committee was sacked by a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, on Wednesday interpreting the constitution of the caretaker as illegal and cannot stand.
The federal high court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to recognize the purported Caretaker Committee constituted by the national leadership of the PDP in Ebonyi State.
Barrister Nnachi Okoro, the Legal Adviser of the embattled Barr Onyekachi Nwebonyu-led PDP executive in Ebonyi state which was dissolved in November 2020 by the national leadership of the PDP, following the defection of Governor David Umahi to the All Progressives Congress had dragged the party to court challenging their dissolution.
The Plaintiff in the Suit argued that his purported removal from office, as the Legal Adviser of the PDP by the dissolution of the State Executive Committee of the Party without a fair hearing, was contrary to the Party’s constitution and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, and urged the court to so hold.
The presiding Judge, Justice Aluko Akintayo, in a three hours judgment, 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 said that the defection of Governor David Umahi to the APC was in the exercise of his fundamental human right of freedom of association and cannot be a justifiable ground to remove the Nwebonyi led exco from office.
Justice Akintayo further rule that the PDP failed to prove before the court, its allegations of anti-party activities and attempts to destabilize the PDP leveled against the Ebonyi State Executive Committee of the party.
“even if there is 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 a fair hearing”.
The Court further ruled that given section 2 of the PDP’s 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 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.
He, therefore, declared the action of the PDP national working committee illegal, null, and void, and ordered the party not to recognize any other legal Adviser in Ebonyi State until the expiration of the Plaintiff’s tenure.
Barr Mazi Igbo Michael who appeared for the defendants’ led Counsel, Kenneth Jamanze SAN in a reaction said, they would meet and decide on the next action.
Reacting, Barrister Onyekachi Nwwbonyi, said, the judgment was a victory for democracy.
Nwebonyi said by the outcome of the judgment, he remained the authentic chairman of the party in the state.
But the legal Adviser to the Fred Udeogu-led PDP executive, Barr Mudi Erhenede, said they would appeal the judgment, adding that they would get a stay of execution against the ruling, pending the determination of the substantive appeal.
Meanwhile, Mr. Fred Udeogu has rejected the federal high court judgment which sacked him as PDP caretaker chairman in Ebonyi.
Udeogu who spoke to journalists through phone call said he was already on his way to appeal the judgment.
He urged his supporters not to panic over the judgment.
“The judgment is not acceptable to us, we are already on our way for appeal. We will get the right judgment on the point of appeal. We have the rectitude to express our feelings over what happened.
“We urge the entire members of our party and the people of Ebonyi state that they should not be deterred because the appeal court will upturn it.
“We know that earlier than now, the judgment will be so, and we are not bordered about it.#