The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national body has been restrained from dissolving the Rivers chapter of the State Executive Committee due to purported anti-party conduct by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Justice Ekwo delivered the verdict, declaring that the plaintiff—Mr. Desmond Akawo, the state excos chairman—had a strong case.
The PDP and its national chairman, according to Justice Ekwo, did not refute Akawo’s allegations.
The judge, who granted all of Akawo’s requests for relief, ruled that the party and its national chairman could not dissolve the state’s democratically elected excos for a four-year term in a unilateral manner without good reason.
Additionally, he issued an order of injunction prohibiting them from designating any individual or group of individuals as the state’s temporary caretaker committee until May 22, 2024.
A subsequent injunction order was issued by Justice Ekwo, prohibiting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognizing or acknowledging any name as the PDP’s caretaker committee in the state other than those who were duly elected and represented by Akawo in the lawsuit.
In his lawsuit, Akawo named the National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Committee (NEC) members as well as the party’s immediate former national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, as the first and second defendants.
He had asked the court to rule on whether they were ineligible to serve their term in light of Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 47(1) of the PDP Constitution (as revised in 2017).
The PDP leader claimed that he and the other members of the executive committee, the ward executive committee, and the local government area executive committees were sworn in and elected in accordance with the state congress, which took place on March 21, 2020. They are therefore eligible to serve out their four-year terms, which end on or around May 22, 2024.
The PDP and its national chairman threatened to unilaterally dissolve the Rivers chapter of SEC and replace it with an Interim Caretaker Committee on January 4, according to Akawo, who personally deposed to the affidavit.
But before the threat, he said, neither he nor any other state committee member had ever been questioned by them.
In order to prevent the party and the national chairman from terminating, suspending, or shortening the terms of the Rivers SEC, the LGA executive committees, and the ward executive committees until their four-year terms ended on May 22, 2024, he requested an order of injunction, among other reliefs.