By Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
With barely two weeks to the governorship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Anambra state; a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has nullified the South-East Zonal Congresses which held on March 6th, 2021.
The plaintiff, Samuel Anyakorah had approached Justice Adegbola Adeniyi of the High Court of Justice, Abuja Division, seeking among others, the nullification of the March Congresses unless there is a recourse by the PDP (1st defendant) to the extant list of already inaugurated party officers and delegates that emerged “from the Anambra PDP congress conducted on 28 November, 2017 and 1st December, 2017, validated by the Senator Grace Bent Ward Congress Appeal Panel Report under the supervision of Sir Chukwudi Umeaba as acting chairman, State Caretaker Committee.”
In a suit brought before the temple of justice, numbered, HC/CV/774/2021, Anyakorah on behalf of himself and all local government chairmen and ward executives who emerged from the 28th November 2017 and 1st December 2017, by way of originating summons, sought a declaration that virtue of Article 2 of the Constitution of the PDP (amended in 2017), “the said constitution is supreme,” arguing that it has “a binding force on all members and organs of the PDP and that any action or step taken contrary to the relevant provisions of the constitution is unlawful, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”
The plaintiff also argued that it is unlawful for the PDP “whether during its South-East Zonal Congress of 6th March 2021, or at any other time, to adopt or publish the name of a state chairman, alongside persons purporting to be EXCO members, local government chairmen and national delegates without recourse to the officers and delegates that emerged in 2017.
He further sought an order nullifying or setting aside all Congresses, designations or appointment made by the PDP with respect to the state chairman for PDP in Anambra state, EXCO members, local government chairmen, national delegates amongst others.
This is even as the plaintiff further prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the PDP, its allies or cronies from further recognizing or dealing with persons names on pages 14, 15 and 16 of the Brochure for the South-East Zonal Congress of 6th March, 2021 “either as state Chairman, EXCO members, local government area chairmen or national delegates of PDP, Anambra state chapter.
In its judgment of 9th June, 2021, the court upheld the prayer of the plaintiff that by virtue of Article 2 of the PDP constitution, “the said constitution is supreme and it has binding force on all members and organs of the party and that any action or step taken contrary to the relevant provisions of the constitution is unlawful, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
It also ruled as unlawful for the PDP “whether during its South-East Zonal Congress of 6th March, 2021 or at time to adopt or publish the name of a state Chairman, alongside person purporting to be EXCO members, local government chairman and national delegates without recourse to the extant list of already inaugurated party officers and delegates that emerged from the Anambra PDP congress conducted on 28 November 2017 and 1st December 2017.”
Justice Adeniyi described as arbitrary imposition the current Executive Committee of the PDP in the state, even as he granted all prayers sought by the plaintiff.
The implication of this is that unless the party succeeds at the appellate court, if it chooses to challenge the ruling of the lower court; it may find itself fielding parallel delegates in the November 6 election, which may call for the replication of the Zamfara scenario which cost the All Progressives Congress, the North-Western state in 2019.
With the sack of the Ndubuisi Nwobu-led executive committee, the fate of the 16 aspirants vying for the governorship ticket at the primaries for the November 6 election now hangs in the balance.
How the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee, NWC, handles this slippery judicial comment will determine the fate of the party in Anambra; a state it governed for years until it lost out to the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.