The ripples caused by the emergence of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as national Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are far from over, as two members of the party have asked an Abuja High Court to compel the national chairman to vacate office by the end of March.
They also sought an order of the court to compel the party’s leadership not to hold the forthcoming national convention until the membership register of the party is computerized as stipulated in section 8(11) of its constitution.
The suit was filed by Engr. Nwosu Emmanuel and Mr. Eze Chuks Silas on behalf of the Restart PDP Group on March 8, 2016.
Recall that the National Executive Committee (NEC) had barely a week ago, endorsed a proposal by Sheriff’s led National Working Committee (NWC) to conduct national convention in May 21, 2016 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. By implication, Sheriff would serve till May 2016.
But former ministers who served during the party’s reign at the center and the PDP Restart Group have insisted on March 31, 2016 as exit date for all members of the NWC.
However, according to a copy of the originating summons with suit number Cv/1174/16 and filed at a Federal High Court in Abuja, Engr. Nwosu Emmanuel and Mr. Eze Chuks Silas, were the plaintiff while PDP, Sheriff and the NWC are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.
According to the summons obtained by newsmen, the plaintiffs asked for an order “restraining the 1st defendant, 3rd defendant and the current national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (Senator Ali Modu Sheriff) and all other national officers of the Peoples Democratic Party whose tenure of office shall expire in March 2016 in line with the party’s constitution, from unlawfully extending their tenure of office beyond the mandatory four years term expressly stipulated in section 47(1) of the constitution of Peoples Democratic Party.”
They also sought an order “restraining the defendants, all officers and organs of the 1st defendant from parading or further parading the tenure of office of the 2nd defendant or any officers or organs of the 1st defendant whose tenure of office shall expire in March 2016 in line with the party’s constitution, as having been expired beyond March 2016.”
While asking that court for a declaration on the tenure of Sheriff, they noted that Sheriff “having emerged to complete the unexpired constitutionally stipulated four years terms of the last former national chairman of be party and his immediate predecessor respectively (Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu and Alhaji Bamanga Tukur whose tenure jointly ought to expire in March 2016, should vacate office in March, 2016 as any extension of his tenure shall contravene the provisions of sections 2; and 47(1) and (6) of the constitution of the party”.
Seeking an order to stop the May 21 convocation, they pleaded with the court to compel the party to give effect to section 8 (11) of the constitution which provides that a membership register of the party should be computerized.
The specifically asked the court to restrain “the 1st defendant and all its organs from conducting party congress and 2016 national convention or other further national conventions pending the computerization of the party membership register as mandatory stipulated in section 8(11) of the party’s constitution.
Section 8(11) of PDP’s constitution read “the party membership register shall be computerized to ensure control and to avoid fraud, and all ward registers shall be closed one month to congresses”.
When contacted, spokesman of the Restart PDP Group, Chief Jackson Ude, said the suit became necessary to ensure that the PDP allowe the constitution of the party to prevail instead of “back-door agreement by few selfish individuals in the Party.”
“If the PDP constitution says Bamanga Tukur and Adamu Mu’azu’s tenures which Ali Modu Sheriff is concluding expires March 28, so be it. Let him and members of the NWC leave so the Party can cleanse itself and begin on a new slate.
“We must go back to the rule of law and the Constitution. The impunity within the Party is because few individual decided on their own to jettison the Constitution for their own selfish interest. All well-meaning members of the PDP must insist on the constitution,” Ude said.