A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the former aide to ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Otunba Segun Sowunmi, to paste the court processes he filed against the Damagum-led Peoples Democratic Party at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja.
Justice Bolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja gave the order on Thursday.
He gave the order while delivering his ruling on an ex-parte motion for substituted service by Sowunmi (the plaintiff).
Lawyer to Sowunmi, Anderson Asemota, had informed the court that his client was having problem in effecting service of court processes on six out of the eight defendants in the suit.
Justice Olajuwon consequently ordered substituted service and directed Sowunmi to serve the suit’s originating processes on the second to seven defendants.
In the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/70/2024, Sowunmi wants the court to among others restrain PDP’s National Chairman, Umar Damagum and other national leaders of the PDP from further acting in their official capacities given their alleged failure to convene the mandatory National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for over a year now.
He stated that since the meeting was last held on September 8, 2022, during the tenure of the sacked Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, the new leadership under Damagum has failed to convene NEC meetings to enable its members to review the party’s activities, take critical decisions and plan for future elections, despite demands by concerned party members.
Listed with Damagum as defendants in the suit are the PDP, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (National Secretary), Umar Nature (National Organizing Secretary), Okechukwu Daniel (National Auditor), Ahmed Yayari (National Treasurer), Muhammed Kadade (National Youth Leader) and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Sowunmi is contending that not only did the failure of the party’s leadership to hold NEC meeting violate the party’s constitution, it is inimical to the progress of the party and threatens his fortune and those of other members, who plan to contest future elections.
He stated, in a supporting affidavit that since the party participated in the last governorship elections in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states, the reports of the elections have not been presented to the party as required.
He added that elections are coming up in Edo and Ondo state elections and the party needs to also plan and prepare ahead, “which preparation and planning can only be done at the meeting of the members of the NEC.
Sowunmi stated that “by the provisions of Articles 31(2)(4) &(5) of the party’s constitution, Damagum and leaders of the PDP “are obligated to call for or cause to be called and held quarterly or at the request of one-third of members of the NEC of the PDP the meeting of the NEC of the PDP at which they shall present proposed guidelines and regulations governing the conduct of elections to the party offices at all levels, and procedure of selecting party candidates for elective offices to the members of the NEC.
He added that “there are other critical issues which the party need to discuss during the NEC meeting.
“The NEC is saddled with the responsibility of fixing and approving the date for the party’s National Convention which is the highest decision-making organ of the party.
“The NEC is the organ that would determine when the convention will hold, organize and what will transpire there.
“By their conduct and actions aforesaid the 2nd to 7th defendants are acting in breach and violation of the constitution of the 1st defendant (PDP) and the provision of the Electoral Act, 2022 which may have fatal consequences for the smooth and continuous running of the 1st defendant as a political party in Nigeria,” he said.
Sowunmi wants the court to among others, issue an order of perpetual injunction restraining Damagum and others, including their agents “from functioning or continuing to function or discharge the functions of their offices until they call for or cause to be called and held meeting of the NEC of the PDP in total fidelity and obeisance to the PDP constitution.”
He also wants the court to order the party’s leadership “to immediately call for or cause to be called and held the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the PDP to present the activities of the party from the date of the last NEC meeting which was held on 8th September, 2022.”
The plaintiff is equally seeking an order directing Damagum and others “to immediately call for or cause to be called and held the meeting of the NEC of the PDP to present the proposed guidelines and regulations governing the conduct of elections to the party offices at all levels and procedure for selecting party candidates for elective offices to the members of the NEC.”
The case has been adjourned till March 4 for report of service.