By Kenneth Atavti and Sunday Ogli
A High Court sitting in Makurdi, has granted an interim order restraining the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, from parading himself as chairman of the party.
The exparte motion in suit No. MHC/85/2023, Motion No. MHC/633/2023 was brought before Justice W.I. Kpochi, sequel to an affidavit deposed to by a prominent Benue politician, Engr Conrand Terhide Utaan filed on the 27th March, 2023.
Sen Ayu is the first defendant while PDP is the second.
Engr. Utaan had through his lawyer, M.T. Assoh, sought an order of the court restraining Sen Ayu from parading himself as the National Chairman of the PDP, having lost membership of the party, pending the hearing and determination of Motion on Notice already filed.
The application is supported by a fifteen (15) paragraph affidavit to which is annexed three exhibits as Exhibits A1, A2 and B which are the Applicant’s membership card of the 2nd defendant, receipts for payment of dues and a vote of no confidence passed on the 1st Defendant/Respondent by the Igyorov Council Ward of the 2nd Defendant in Gboko Local Government, Benue State.
Justice Kpochi while ruling on the Motion held that: “Upon hearing Mr. M. T. Assoh of Learned Counsel ably move the application and upon a dispassionate consideration of the facts placed before me in the pool of the affidavit evidence, and again, upon the consideration of the issues distilled in the written address by M. T. Assoh of Learned Counsel, it is my candid view that this is a proper case to grant the interim injunction as craved.
“Consequently, this application is hereby granted in terms of the reliefs captured in the motion papers as herein before reproduced. It is so ordered.”
The matter was adjourned to 17thd April, 2023 for hearing.
The above legal scenario is not unconnected to the disagreement between Sen Ayu and the PDP G-5 Governors of which Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State is a member.
The G-5 Governors rejected the emergence of former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a northerner as the candidate of the PDP in the recent presidential election with Sen Ayu, also a northerner as National Chairman of PDP and demanded either Alhaji Atiku or Sen Ayu to relinquish their position to a southerner but they turned deaf ears to the plea.
The situation dovetailed into an open campaign against the presidential candidate of the PDP by Governor Ortom, who openly canvassed votes for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi.
At the end of the day, the All Progressives Congress, APC presidential candidate, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, now president- elect won Benue State followed by the LP candidate while the PDP candidate, came a distant third.
The loss of PDP in Benue State, not only in the presidential but Governorship, National and State Assemblies elections was a slap on Ayu’s face as he was portrayed as a leader who lacked clout in his home state.
Having put the elections behind, the National Secretariat of the PDP, having perceived the activities of Gov Ortom to be an act of anti party, had referred the governor to the disciplinary committee of the party for disciplinary action.
While the party awaited the response of the governor, the Igyorov Ward executive committee of the PDP in Gboko Local Government Area where Sen Ayu hailed suspended him from the party.
The suspension of Ayu is coming barely four days after the national working committee of the party dragged the State Governor, Samuel Ortom to the disciplinary committee of the party to investigate him (Ortom) on the alleged anti party activities.
Mr. Kashi Philip, the Ward Chairman, who spoke to newsmen in Makurdi on behalf of the Ward Secretary Mr. Vangeryina Dooyum, explained that Senator Ayu was suspended by the executive for alleged anti party activities.