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Court Bars PDP From Sacking Damagum As National Chairman

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Court Bars PDP From Sacking Damagum As National Chairman
PDP Acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum

The Federal High Court in Abuja has issued an injunction preventing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from removing, selecting a replacement for Umar Damagum as its Acting National Chairman until a lawsuit brought by two party chieftains is resolved.

Naija News reports that Justice Peter Lifu delivered the ruling based on an urgent affidavit submitted by the plaintiffs. Senator Umar Maina and Alhaji Zanna Gaddama filed the suit, identified as FHC/ABJ/CS/579/2024, naming the PDP, its National Working Committee (NWC), National Executive Committee (NEC), Board of Trustees (BOT), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants.

In addition to the originating summons, the plaintiffs requested an interim order to keep Damagum in his role as Acting National Chairman until their case is heard.

Following arguments from the plaintiffs’ legal team, led by Mr M. O. Onyilokwu, Justice Lifu granted the requests.

Specifically, the court held that: “The Defendants/Respondents are hereby restrained in the interim, from appointing, selecting, nominating any person to replace Amb. Umar llliya Damagum as National Chairman or Acting National Chairman of the the 1st Defendant/Respondent, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice already filed which is herein fixed against the 14th of May, 2024.

“The Defendants/Respondents by themselves, agents, privies or by any proxy, are hereby in the interim, restrained from according recognition to any person other than Amb. Umar Illiya Damagum as Acting National Chairman of the 1st Defendants/ Respondents or giving effect to or acting upon any document purporting to be signed by the National Chairman or Acting National Chairman of the 1st Defendant without the name and signature of Amb. Umar Illiya Damagum, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice already filed in Court in the instant suit.

“The Applicants are herein ordered to enter into a fresh undertaking to pay damages to the Respondents (to be assessed by the Court) if, at the end of the day, it is discovered that this order ought not to have been granted or that the Honourable Court was misled into granting some.

“The return date is herein fixed against the 14th day of May, 2024, for the hearing of the Motion on Notice dated and filed on the 2nd of May, 2024.”

It is worth noting that on April 8, approximately 60 House of Representatives members elected under the PDP banner called for the resignation of Damagum, the party’s Acting National Chairman.

Led by Ikenga Ugochinyere, the Representative for Ideato North/Ideato South Federal Constituency in Imo State, the group accused Damagum, an ally of former Rivers State governor and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, of favouring the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Similarly, party members from the North-central zone demanded Damagum’s removal, arguing that the position should be allocated to their region in order to complete the tenure of Iyorchia Ayu, who was suspended as National Chairman of the party last year.

The region placed reliance on Section 47(6) of the PDP Constitution, which provides that; “Where a vacancy occurs in any of the offices of the Party, the Executive Committee at the appropriate level shall appoint another person from the area or zone where the officer originated from to serve out the tenure.”

However, the National Caucus of the PDP decided on April 18 to prolong Damagum’s term as the Acting National Chairman of the party, while the NWC of the party also expressed their support for him.

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