BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA—The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, told the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court why it would not recognize the Chairman, Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Senator Andy Uba, as its gubernatorial flagbearer in Anambra State, describing him as an “illegal” candidate.
However, the party, through its lead counsel, Chief J. K Gadzama, SAN, said it would for now, keep all the disciplinary measures it intended to take against Andy, his younger brother, Chief Chris Uba, and three of its members in Anambra State, in abeyance, pending the judgment of the court on the suit filed against it by the plaintiffs.
The three others, including factional chairman of the party, in the state, Chief Ejike Oguebego, Benjamin Udeozor and Mrs. Anthonia Nwankwu, the party told the court, engaged in anti-party activities by organising a parallel congress where Senator Uba was handpicked as a governorship candidate.
In an affidavit deposed to by one Mr Festus Kaunan, PDP maintained that by virtue of its constitution and guidelines for elections, the only approved organ vested with powers to organise governorship primaries in Anambra State was its National Working Committee, NWC, with the approval of the National Executive Committee, NEC.
It insisted: “The State Executive Committee of the party possesses no such power or right to organise primary elections or any congress for nomination of governorship candidate in any election.
“The plaintiffs purported to have conducted a congress for the governorship primaries in Anambra State on August 24, 2013, in deviance, total disregard, blatant disobedience to and breach of the congress as approved and conducted by the NEC of the party in line with the provisions of Article 31(2) (j) and 50 of the constitution of the PDP 2012.
“There is no State Executive Committee known by law or recognized by the party in Anambra State. Ejike Oguebego is not the state chairman of PDP in Anambra State and even if he is, cannot organise any primary election in Anambra State.
“The purported State Executive Committee under which Ejike Oguebego is claiming legitimacy has been nullified by a court of competent jurisdiction in suit No. FCT/HC/CV/2631/12 Hon Emma Mbamalu V. PDP.
“The plaintiffs/applicants have done everything “illegal” and have engaged in anti-party activities, organised a parallel congress against the constitution and guidelines to election on the association they are members. I know as a fact that the plaintiffs are aware of the rules of the political party they belong.
“The plaintiffs/applicants by conducting an exercise which they called PDP gubernatorial primary election on 24/08/2013, in which the second defendant purportedly emerged as gubernatorial candidate of PDP, by unlawfully using PDP name, logo, symbol and sensitive materials for that exercise without authority and in defiance of the party’s constitution and the law, has committed an illegal, invalid, criminal, unconstitutional act under our laws and also serious party offences under the constitution of PDP 2012 as amended.”
PDP further told the court that it did not deny the plaintiffs their right to fair hearing, saying it suspended them after they refused to honour an invitation to appear before it to explain alleged divisive roles they played in Anambra State,
The party said: “The applicants do not want to be subjected to the rules, constitution and guidelines of the party and are taking laws into their hands.”
Besides, the party said it had filed a formal complaint to the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, “to investigate where the plaintiffs/applicants obtained the sensitive materials with which it conducted primary election in Anambra on August 24, 2013, at Emmaus House.”
Meanwhile, sequel to an agreement between counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Taiwo Abe, and that of the PDP, Gadzama, SAN, Justice Ahmed Mohammed struck out both the ex-parte application and motion on notice earlier filed by the plaintiffs, which the court had relied upon to quash their suspension from the party, even as the court fixed September 17 to hear the substantive matter on its merit.
More so, Justice Mohammed ordered all the parties to maintain the status-quo, pending the determination of the suit before the court.
This was even as PDP told the court that it will today file a preliminary objection to seek the dismissal of Andy Uba’s suit on the premise that it not only lacked in merit, but bordered on an internal affair of a political party.