March 4, 2024

A federal high court in Abuja has declared Samuel Anyanwu as the valid national secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a judgment on Tuesday, Inyang Ekwo, presiding judge, also restrained the national leadership of the PDP from appointing any person as acting national secretary until the completion of Anyanwu’s four-year tenure on December 9, 2025, as enshrined in the party’s constitution.

The judge declared that “any meeting held or resolution reached by the party to prematurely remove Anyanwu or prevent him from exercising the powers of his office would violate Article 47 (1) of the PDP constitution (as amended in 2017)”.

The judge also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “from recognising any purported appointment of any person as national secretary of the party whether in acting capacity or otherwise other than Anyanwu, the elected national secretary of the 1st defendant (PDP)”.

In April, Anyanwu became the party’s gubernatorial candidate for the November 11, 2023, election in Imo.

But some party stakeholders had called for Anyanwu’s resignation as national secretary of the PDP — a call he ignored.

Adolphus Wabara, acting chairman of the PDP board of trustees (BoT), had asked Anyanwu to resign from his position after he became the governorship candidate of the party in Imo.

But Nyesom Wike, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT), countered Wabara.

The former governor of Rivers said Wabara did not have the authority to declare who can occupy the office of national secretary of the party.

On October 20, 2023, the south-east zonal executive committee of the PDP nominated Sunday Udeh-Okoye to replace Anyanwu as the party’s national secretary.

Days later, a high court in Enugu granted an interim order directing the party to recognise Udeh-Okoye within 24 hours.

The PDP also filed a motion seeking to set aside the order recognising Udeh-Okoye as the party’s national secretary.

However, in November, Ekwo granted an order restraining the party from removing Anyanwu from office.

The order was based on a suit filed by two members of the PDP.

Geoffrey Ihentuge and Apollos Godspower sued the PDP, Umar Aliyu Damagun, acting national chairman; and national executive committee (NEC) as 1st to 3rd defendants.

The party’s national working committee (NWC) and INEC are 4th and 5th defendants, respectively.

They sought an order restraining the PDP and its executives from preventing Anyanwu from discharging his functions as an elected national officer of the PDP.

They argued that article 47(1) of the PDP constitution provided for a tenure of four years for its executive committees, adding that Anyanwu was duly elected on December 10, 2021, and was entitled to remain in office till December 9, 2025.

The plaintiffs sought an order restraining INEC from “recognising any purported appointment of any person as PDP national secretary, whether in an acting capacity or otherwise, pending the determination of the suit”.

In his judgement, Ekwo held that the plaintiffs had been able to demonstrate, with credible evidence, the threats and moves by the PDP leadership to remove its national secretary without due compliance with the provisions of the party’s constitution.

“The court is duty-bound to prevent that from happening,” the judge held.

“The plaintiffs do not have to wait until the 1st to 4th defendants carry out their threat before coming to seek redress.

“In such situation, the court is bound to grant the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs.”

The Cable

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