ABUJA- A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday extended the interim order restraining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from removing Sen. Samuel Anyanwu as national secretary pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, who directed parties to maintain status quo in the suit, adjourned the matter until Dec. 19 for hearing.
The development occured when counsel for the plaintiff, Moses Onyilokwu, informed the court that though the matter was slated for hearing, lawyer to the 1st to 4th defendants, Mohammed Atolagbe, had just served on them a counter affidavit in response to the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed by them.
Onyilokwu said he would need a short time to respond to the application.
Atolagbe, who admitted serving Onyilokwu with their counter earlier today, said he was also within time to file their substantive response.
Justice Ekwo, who frowned at filing processes late, said if Atolagbe had filed his application in time, the substantive matter would have been taken.
“Now, the matter is not likely to go on today, something I would have penalised you for.
“Now, once party has submitted themselves to court , no action should be taken so that it will not affect the case at hand.
“Therefore, parties are to maintain status quo,” he said.
The judge, who adjourned the matter until Dec.b19, directed hearing notice to be issued to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that was not represented in court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the court had, on Nov. 23, stopped the PDP from removing Anyanwu as national secretary following an ex-parte motion moved by Joshua Musa, SAN, and fixed today for hearing of the motion on notice.
NAN reports that two members of the party, Geoffrey Ihentuge and Apollo’s Godspower, had sued the PDP, Umar Aliyu Damagun (acting National Chairman), and the National Executive Committee (NEC) as 1st to 3rd defendants.
Others are the National Working Committee (NWC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 4th to 5th defendants, respectively.
The motion was brought pursuant to Order 26, Rules 2 and 6, and Order 28, Rules 1 and 2 of the FHC (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The plaintiffs, who sought five reliefs, prayed for an order of interim injunction, restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th defendants from carrying out the threat to remove the national secretary (Anyanwu).
This, he said, is a violation of the provisions of Article 47 (1) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017) pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
They argued that Anyanwu was duly elected on December 10, 2021, and was entitled to remain in office till December 9, 2025.
They said that an elected national officer of the 1st defendant cannot be arbitrarily removed from office in any manner without his resignation and in breach of the party’s constitution.
They argued that there must be a vote of no confidence as required by Article 47(3) of the party’s constitution proposed or moved at a national convention before a national officer like Anyanwu could be removed from office, among other arguments.
Justice Ekwo granted the prayers after the motion was moved.
NAN reports that Anyanwu was the PDP candidate in the Nov. 11 Imo governorship election, where Sen. Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was re-elected.(NAN)