*** Orders Baraje To Stop Parading Himself as Faction Chair
Again A federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday okayed the special convention of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and affirmed the elections of the National Chairman of the Party Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and its National working committee members.
Presiding Judge, Justice Evoh Chukwu also ordered the Abubakar Baraje led faction of the PDP to stop parading themselves as the national officers of the political party.
According to the judge, with the provision of. Section 222 and 223 of the electoral act as amended and the PDP constitution as amended the Abubakar Baraje led faction cannot nullify the PDP convention that brought Tukur and the NWC to power.
The judge further order the Abubakar Baraje faction of the new PDP to stop operating a parallel offices of the party across the country.
He said that the Abubakar Baraje led faction haven’t been not elected in the special convention has no business whatsoever in interfering and continues interference in the duties of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the national chairman of the party.
Justice Chukwu had fixed Friday as the judgement day in the suit filed by Bamanga Tukur, embattled national Chairman of the PDP against Abubakar Baraje led faction.
The preliminary objection and originating summon filed by both parties, Justice Chukwu said he would communicate them on the date of judgement which was delivered yesterday.
The court took the preliminary objection brought by the New PDP led by Abubakar Baraje and the Originating Summon filed by the Bamanga Tukur led Peoples Democratic Party.
Ahmed Raji, counsel to Baraje (2nd defendant) had said that his notice of preliminary objection was dated 11 September, 2013 and filed same day.
“In response, there is a counter affidavit and written address by the plaintiff dated 19 September, 2013; and on behalf of the Baraje, there is a final reply on points of law dated 23 September and filed same day” Raji said.
Raji adopted the preliminary objection and his written address in support, and therefore the court to decline jurisdiction on the matter.
Baraje’s lawyer argued that the suit borders on domestic affairs of a political party, which according to him, “it is not justiceable”.
He therefore urged the court to strike out the suit as it was illegally instituted.
But replying, counsel to the Bamanga Tukur led PDP, Tochukwu Onwugbufo submitted that the issue of jurisdiction is determined from the statement of claim or originating summon of the plaintiff.
He said that his originating summon shows clearly what his client is seeking, and that is, interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution of FRN, the Electoral Act and the PDP constitution.
Onwugbufo argued that once a state or its agency is party in a suit, court has jurisdiction to hear the case and urged the court to strike out Raji’s submission.
Responding on points of law, Raji said, ” the law is that the subject matter as defined and codified in Section 251 of Constitution of FRN determines jurisdiction and not ordinary naming of a Federal Government agency that determines jurisdiction.
“This is more so, where the FG agency is a nominal party as in this case” Raji said.
He insisted that Onwugbufo’s argument did not arise and therefore urged court to strike it out.
On his part, Chief Robert Clarke, counsel to Sam Jaja (3rd defendant) said his preliminary objection to Tukur’s suit was dated 11 September 2013.
He said the grounds of his objection is that Tukur’s suit “is not a competent action, being so, has robbed Your Lordship jurisdiction over this matter. Once you have two names for a party, you no longer have jurisdiction..
Clarke therefore urged the court “to throw away the suit for lack of competence as no effectual order(s) can be made by this court in relation to the relief being sought”.
Similarly, E.R Enepkuruo, counsel to Olagunsoye Oyinlola equally urged the court to dismiss the suit, stressing that it amounted to abuse of court process.
On the originating summon, Onwugbufo said it was dated on 5 September and it primarily seeks to restrain Baraje and his group from parading themselves as leaders of the PDP.
But Raji insisted that the Baraje faction was the authentic exco of the party as the delegates for the special convention who elected them at Yar’Adua Centre Abuja were the ones barred by the Tukur led faction from participating in the purported convention held at Eagle Square two months ago.