Suspension: Ayu unmoved as court stops him from presenting himself as PDP chairman

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The national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, yesterday, waved off his suspension by the executive committee of his ward in Igyorovo, Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State, saying it is only the national executive committee of the party that has the constitutional right to suspend him.

Recall that the ward chairman, Mr. Kashi Philip, while addressing journalists on Sunday said the national chairman was punished on grounds of alleged anti-party activities.

He stated that the decision to suspend Ayu was reached after the ward leadership reviewed his conduct at the end of the just concluded general elections.

“We observed with utmost dismay that, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu who is the national chairman of the PDP worked against the success of the party in Igyorov council ward.

“It is on record that, he has also failed to pay his annual subscription fees as provided under Section 8 (9) of the constitution of the PDP 2017 (As Amended).

“Further investigation also revealed that, he did not vote during the governorship and state assembly elections held on March 18, 2023.

“It was also discovered that most of his closest allies worked for the opposition party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, and hence, the abysmal performance of the PDP in Igyorov Ward.

“In view of the foregoing, we hereby pass a vote of no confidence on Dr Iyorchia Ayu and suspend him as a member of our party with immediate effect. The suspension takes effect from March 24, 2023,” he said in a prepared speech.

However, Ayu said  in a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Simon Imobo-Tswam that as the party’s national chairman and indeed, national officer, only the NEC of the party as contained in section 57(7] could suspend him.

“Article 57(7) of the PDP Constitution as Amended in 2017 expressly prohibits any organ of the party or executive committee of the party at the Ward or State Level from taking any disciplinary measure against any member of the party’s national executive committee,” he said.

He said his suspensions was “an exercise in futility as it derives its strength majority from gross illiteracy, ignorance, gambling and desperation.”

He added: “It has only mischief, drama and propaganda value.

“But more than this, the so-called suspension letter was written by an illiterate before hand, and only given to the coerced members to sign somewhere in Makurdi.

“This is why the original date is tippex and 24 March imposed on it. And this is also why it states that the presidential/NASS and Governorship/State Assembly elections held on 25th and 18th March, 2023 respectively.

“From what we know, the document itself is fraudulent as the signatures of the Ward Executives were forged or obtained under duress. The chairman, his deputy and legal adviser didn’t sign. The 14th person on the list didn’t sign too.  She was at NKST Ambighir for the Holy Communion.

“In fact, the same applies for Nos. 5, 8 and 16. At the time, they were supposed to be in Makurdi with the other coerced, intimidated and induced members of the exco; they were actually in their villages, going about their normal businesses.

“Up till now, about nine members of the Ward Exco are still being held hostage in a location in Makurdi for obvious reasons. And expectedly, their mobile numbers have been switched off. It is instructive.

“The general public is hereby advised to ignore rumours to this heinous effect. Those behind the plot are only investing in expensive illusions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wilfred Kpochi of the Benue High Court in Makurdi yesterday restrained Ayu from presenting himself as the national chairman of the party pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice already filed.

The judge issued the order following an ex parte application by a member of the party in Benue State, Mr. 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 a written address before the court, counsel for the applicant, Mr. Mike Assoh, asked the court to restrain Ayu from parading himself as the national chairman of the PDP pending the hearing and determination of the motion seeking for his suspension.

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.

The case was adjourned to April 17, 2023 for hearing.

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