In what can be likened to shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday eased out its national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu and appointed the deputy national chairman (north), Mr. Umar Damagum, to serve in acting position.
Ayu’s exit was contained in a statement by the PDP spokesperson, Mr. Debo Ologunagba, on Tuesday.
The decision was taken a day after Justice Wilfred Kpochi of Benue State High Court granted an interim order stopping Ayu from parading himself as the national chairman of the party.
The ex-parte application was before the court by a PDP stalwart in the state, Terhide Utaan.
The order reads: “An order of interim injunction restraining the 1st defendant Senator Dr. Iyorchia Ayu from parading himself as the National Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice already filed.
“The application is supported by a fifteen (15) paragraph affidavit to which is annexed three exhibits as Exhibits A1, A2 and B which are the Applicant’s membership card of the 2nd defendant, receipts for payment of dues and a vote of no confidence passed on the 1st defendant/respondent by the Igyorov Council Ward of the 2nd Defendant in Gboko Local Government, Benue State.”
In his ruling, the presiding judge held that considering the pool of affidavits before the court and the issues distilled in the written address by the applicant’s counsel, it was proper to grant the interim injunction as craved.
“Upon hearing Mr. M. T. Assoh of Learned Counsel ably move the application and upon a dispassionate consideration of the facts placed before me in the pool of the affidavit evidence, and again, upon the consideration of the issues distilled in the written address by M. T. Assoh of Learned Counsel, it is my candid view that this is a proper case to grant the interim injunction as craved.
“Consequently, this application is hereby granted in terms of the reliefs captured in the motion papers as herein before reproduced. It is so ordered,” the judge stated.
Reacting to Ayu’s exit, the governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, the former chairman was ignorant when he stated that only the NEC of the party could suspend him.
“Ayu said nobody can suspend him but today, he has packed out from the national office. We have an acting chairman. I told him he will go whether you like it or not, he will go.
“Those lawyers telling you that the ward has no power to suspend you, that it’s only National Executive Council (NEC), then, you don’t understand what is happening. When you came, it was the ward that suspended (Uche Secondus, and you went and took office, is it not?”
“So, is it now that you know that it is only NEC that can suspend you? Let me tell you, since they’ve not told you, the court has struck off that section of our constitution that says it’s only NEC can suspend (chairman). PDP did not even appeal the judgement.
“So, forget it, you are gone. You are wasting your time. We are ready for the battle. I am not from Benue, but I have interest and that interest is that Ayu must go,” Wike said at the inauguration of the phase one of the Trans-Kalabari Road, performed by the governor of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde.
However, the spokesman for the PDP Presidential campaign council, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, faulted Ayu’s suspension saying it is llegal and not in conformity with the party’s Constitution.
He also said the ex parte order from the court restraining Ayu from parading himself or performing his duties as national chairman was most unfortunate stressing that the basis for granting the order was faulty.
Aniagwu who spoke on the ‘Kakaaki’ early morning programme yesterday contended that who attempted to suspend the National Chairman in Benue State were ignorant of the provisions of the party’s constitution as amended in 2017.
He accused Wike and his Benue State counterpart, Dr Samuel Ortom of being behind the suspension.
He said Section 57(7) of the PDP constitution is clear on who has the power to suspend or discipline a member of the NWC or NEC of the party.
“When they proceeded to ask the Ward of the National Chairman to take disciplinary action against him assuming that they have the power they ought to have given him fair hearing by summoning him to give him the opportunity to defend himself but the Section 57 didn’t give them the power to carry out such action against a member of NWC.
“So if anyone is proceeding to court with such illegal suspension is just making unnecessary troubles for the party,” he said.