Politics

PDP ward congresses: Edo, Katsina hold congress despite court injunctions

Written by Our Correspondent

…As both states deny knowledge of any restraining orders

Despite a court order directing that the status quo be maintained until March 31st in Edo State, when it would rule on an application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against a suit filed against it, the party at the weekend went ahead with its state Congress to elect new state leaders for the party.

Even as the Katsina State chapter of the PDP also conducted its congresses to elect new executives of the party into the 361 wards in the 34 local government areas of the state.

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Justice Joy Okeaya-Inneh of the Edo State High Court sitting in Ekpoma had ordered status quo be maintained till March 31st when it would rule on whether to strike out the suit filed by Hon Sylvanus Eruaga against the February 1st Ward congresses of the party in Edo State.

The court ordered all parties to maintain status quo.

Counsel to Eruaga, Barr. Dele Igbinedion said his clients would abide and urged the PDP and INEC to obey the order.

Some aggrieved Edo PDP leaders had also filed a suit at the Abuja Federal High Court challenging the conduct of the party’s Ward and Local Government Congresses on February 1st and March 7.

Malik in a letter to the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, had said a motion of notice has been filed seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the party from holding or organising State Congresses because the Wards and LG Congresses were in violation of the PDP constitution.

According to him, “It is noteworthy that the suit having been properly filed before a competent court of law, position of the law is that parties ought to and indeed should respect the institution of the judiciary by ensuring that nobody takes any step to tamper with the litigation.

“You are accordingly advised and required by law to suspend the proposed State Congress in Edo State. We are confident that under your leadership, the party will not act otherwise.

“Clearly, no harm will occasion any party to this suit on account of a suspension or postponement of the Congress until a determination of the Motion on Notice by the Court.”

However when contacted by another media house, Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, said there was no court order stopping the State Congress as only a suit has been filed.

However, in Katsina newsmen who monitored the exercise in some wards, observed that it was devoid of the usual acrimony and allegation of exclusion and was done in a peaceful atmosphere.

Speaking while observing the exercise at Sabuwar Rigiya Ward in Mashi Local Government, the Chairman of the PDP national delegation for the Ward Congress, Chika Nwazozu, lauded the party faithful for their response and peaceful conduct throughout the exercise.

He said: “The congress is very peaceful across the wards and we observe a large turnout at the party congress which is an obvious statement of the unrivalled popularity of the PDP in the state.

“I am so overwhelmed that in an era where Katsina State is being governed by APC and we have this large turnout of people for this exercise shows that PDP is on ground and this shows that our party has evolved into a very organised party.”

He however refuted claims that the party has been served with an interim court order restraining it from conducting wards congress in the state.

According to him, “The court order is for the state congress and is an interim order which has a lifespan of 14 days. What we have done today (Saturday) does not violate that court order.

“And if you are going to serve any court order in respect of whatever has happened, you send it to the national secretariat of the party. You cannot send it to Katsina secretariat, the laws are clear.”

Nwazozu called on PDP supporters in the state to remain calm and shun acts capable of disrupting the party’s forthcoming local government and state congresses.

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