Monday, 29 July 2013

PDP: Court Hears Motion On Tukur’s Sack Today

An Abuja High Court at Apo will today hear a motion seeking to sack National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, from office.

photo An Abuja High Court at Apo will today hear a motion seeking to sack National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, from office.
The motion was filed by three aggrieved members of the party, Abba Yale, Yahaya Sule and Bashir Maidugu.

This is coming as fresh facts emerged, yesterday, on what transpired between President Goodluck Jonathan and five northern governors at a parley, weekend. Sources said the governors wanted a comprehensive convention to oust Tukur and elect all officers, a move that has been criticised by a northern pressure group, the Inspired Group.

Meanwhile, Dr. Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, said the parley between the President and the northern governors and the issues they discussed were private.

Abati said: “It was a private meeting. Ordinarily, key principal officers normally attend such meetings but no principal officer was at the meeting. It is not every meeting the President holds that we attend. Anybody writing anything on what the President and governors discussed is speculating.”

However, an impeccable source, who accompanied one of the governors to the meeting, which he said Senate President David Mark attended, disclosed that the parley dwelt on the crises ravaging PDP across the country and at the national level.

The source said: “The President wanted to know why Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State said he was going out of PDP, and that he would help bury the party. You know that the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur has taken the Adamawa PDP away from the governor.

“As we speak, Nyako’s commissioners and aides have moved into All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP. So his leaving the party is a question of time, if the issue was not well addressed.
“In one of the Northern states, a member of PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, had been holding meetings with the opposition to destabilise the governor ahead the 2015 elections.

“They told the President to ensure that a comprehensive convention of the party is held to elect new officers into all the positions. If what they discussed with the President is granted, then Tukur is on his way out of PDP as National Chairman.”

Picking holes in the demands of the governors, the Inspired Group, in a statement by its Chairman, Alhaji Isah Yunus, urged the governors to channel their grievances to the just constituted reconciliatory committee headed by Governor Seriake Dickson.

Yunus said: “To us, the call is not only selfish but devilish. In a democratic setting, we wonder were on earth the governors derived their power to mandate the number one citizen to carry out their bidding.

“In fact, it is in public domain that these governors are angry with PDP National Chairman because they have discovered that it is no longer business as usual. The purported sin of the party Chairman is that he is bent on sanitising the party in line with the vision of the founding fathers, where all and sundry will be given a level play ground.”

Motion to sack Tukur

The plaintiffs had on Friday secured an order that barred PDP from conducting any form of convention for the purpose of electing its national officers, pending the hearing and determination of an originating summon they entered before the court.

The order had put paid to plans of the party to conduct its South-West congress and mini-convention on August 24 and 31 respectively, as was suggested by its newly inaugurated Special National Convention Planning Committee led by former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana.

Meantime, the party has through its lawyer Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), approached the court, begging it to vacate the order barring it from holding the convention, insisting that it had initiated moves to settle with the plaintiffs amicably.

This is even as the plaintiffs, in a fresh motion, have asked the court to order Tukur to step down, pending the determination of the suit.

Pre-empting the move, Tukur, on Friday, filed a 13-paragraphed affidavit and a written address with which he successfully persuaded the court to join him as the second defendant in the suit which previously had only PDP as defendant.

Likewise, counsel to the party, Dr. Ikpeazu, told the court that PDP had already conceded to the demands of the plaintiffs, saying it was the sole reason it ab-initio okayed the resignation of its former national officers with a view to conducting a fresh convention in accordance with the provisions of its constitution.

It will be recalled that the plaintiffs had through their lawyer, Mr. Jubril Okutekpa (SAN), sought for an order of interlocutory injunction to restrain the National Chairman of PDP and other officers of the party from holding the scheduled “special convention,” which date they said was announced by a committee led by Gana.

Meanwhile, shortly after the matter was slated for hearing, 17 national officers of the party listed as 2nd to 18th defendants, voluntarily resigned from office and their names were accordingly expunged from the case.

In his argument, Okutepa maintained that “the resignation of former PDP Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, and 16 others, was an affront on the integrity of the court.”

He contended that “since the matter was still pending in court PDP (defendant) ought to have allowed it to be decided by the court, rather than proceed to appoint members to act in the stead of those that resigned.

Although PDP on the other hand, urged the court to dismiss the suit on the premise that it has reduced to a mere academic exercise considering that the defendants had resigned, the court, on Friday, declined the request, saying it is yet to determine the validity of some of the actions that were taken by those national officers before they vacated their respective offices.

Court order

The court accused the party of not only pre-empting its decision but also attempted to usurp its powers by fixing a date to hold a special convention to fill the vacancies created by the exit of those officers despite being aware that a court of competent jurisdiction was already on the matter.

Consequently, Justice Suleiman Belgore, issued an order that “PDP and its agents or any group of persons acting on its behalf are hereby restrained from convoking, convening or holding any convention, special or ordinary, for the purpose of electing its national officers for any office pending the hearing and determination of the suit before this court.”

Before adjourning hearing on the substantive matter till today, Justice Belgore said he refrained from either setting aside the appointment of all the acting national officers of PDP by its National Executive Committee, NEC, or restraining the national chairman of the party from performing the duties of former occupants of the offices who had voluntarily resigned, in view of the fact that it was not part of the reliefs the plaintiffs sought in their originating summons.

Apart from the PDP Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, other former NWC members of the party that the plaintiffs wanted the court to sack included the Bala Bawa Ka’oje, National Treasurer; Solomon Onwe, Deputy National Secretary; Umar Tsauri, Deputy National Auditor; Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary; Bode Mustapha.

Others were Dr. Kema Chikwe, Women Leader; Victor Kwon, National Legal Adviser, and Anunakar Mustapha, National Organising Secretary.

Though the plaintiffs did not initially include the national chairman of the party, Tukur, in the list, however, in a fresh application they filed on Friday, they prayed the court to order him to step aside.
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