A Federal High Court in Lagos on Fridays, upheld the appointment of Chief Henry Nwabueze, as acting National Chairman of the Young Democratic Party (YDP).
Justice Ayokunle Faji upheld his appointment by the Founding Members Council (FMC) of the party, declaring that same was lawfully done.
The court’s judgment followed a suit filed by an aggrieved member of the party, Mr Greg Fiberisima, seeking a declaration that he is entitled to assume the position of acting National Chairman of the YDP.
We secured 703 convictions in 3 years – Magu
In his originating summons, the plaintiff joined YDP and Nwabueze as first and second defendants respectively.
He sought the courts order, for the defendants to submit his name as acting Chairman, pending the conduct of election to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the former Chairman, Amb.Raphael Horsfall.
The plaintiff claims that as the highest ranking member of the National Executive Committee from the South-South zone, he ought to be appointed acting chairman, after Horsfall, who is also from the South-South.
In his response, defence counsel, Mr O.H Igwe had urged the court to determine whether in view of article 29.2 of the YDP Constitution, the resolution appointing Nwabueze as acting Chairman was lawful.
Defence had argued that by the resolution of the Founding Members Council (FMC), The NEC and the Board of Trustees, the appointment of the second defendant as acting Chairman was constitutional and lawful.
In his judgment, Justice Faji held that the constitution of YDP regulates how offices are held, adding that in case of National officers, they are elected by the National Convention of the party, which holds every four years.
“By Article 31.3, where there is a vacancy in any of the offices of the party, the Executive Committee at the appropriate level, shall appoint another person from the same area or zone where the officer originated from, pending the conduct of election.
“It thus seems that article 31.3 needs to be further examined.
“There was before now in office, an acting National Chairman, (Ambassador Horsfall), who resigned office to become Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees.
“He was to act pending the National convention for January 2017; Amb. Horsfall was himself appointed National Chairman, when the erstwhile chairman was suspended along with others by the FMC on Oct. 10, 2016.
“This was a ratification of the decision of the BOT to suspend the said officers and in line with the functions of the FMC in Article 29.2
“It is instructive that plaintiff’s demand to be made acting chairman was directed to the chairman of the FMC by a letter dated 23/6/2018; this shows plaintiff acknowledges the role of the FMC in the process.
“However, from the counter affidavit, the FMC chose not to accede to this, because of a crisis generated by the situation, as it was contended that the tenure of Amb. Horsfall had itself expired at the material time.
“Plaintiff did not file a reply affidavit to this,” the court held,”
The court held that by plaintiff’s exhibit YDP4 letter dated 10/10/2016, the tenure of the National Executives of the YDP was to last till the National Convention of 2017.
It held that it would therefore, seem that as at 22/6/2018, the tenure of the previous acting chairman from South-South zone had expired.
According to the judge, by Article 29.2.1 of the YDP constitution, the FMC is empowered to resolve all crisis in the party, adding that the situation was a clear crisis, which it was proper for the FMC to resolve the way it did.
The court held that Article 31.4 and 29.2 are strong pedestals upon which the FMC acted, adding that eventhougj the resolution was not exhibited, the facts in paragraphs eight to nime of the counter affidavit were not denied.
The court consequently held: “The first defendant was right in sending the name of the second defendant to INEC, as acting National Chairman.
“I hereby, find no merit in plaintiff’s claim which is hereby dismissed,”