Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The suspended National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has commenced moves to appeal the judgment of the Benue High Court that affirmed his suspension, insisting that low-ranking officials of the main opposition party should not be allowed to destroy the party and democracy.
Ayu’s counsel, Chief E.K. Ashiekaa (SAN), told THSDAY in an interview that the appeal would be filed at the Benue State Division of the Court of Appeal this week.
He noted that the appeal will be within the timeframe for such an appeal.
According to him, the grounds of appeal “is to allow the Appeal Court decide whether it is constitutional for any person or group of persons to wake up and suspend senior party officials,” adding that “the party’s constitution forbids them from exercising such powers.”
He stated further that “the PDP constitution is clear on the stages of disciplinary actions that could be meted on members of the National Executive Committee (NEC).
“It is expressly stated. One such member is the national chairman of the party and members of NEC.
“You cannot wake up and claim either as a member of the ward executive and start exercising disciplinary actions of the party.
“It happened to Prince Uche Secondus and now Dr. Ayu. We must put a stop to this constitutional rascality. If such things are allowed, we are killing our democracy.
“Democracy thrives on the observation of the tenets of justice and therefore, the PDP will not sit down and allow this rascality to continue”, Ayu’s lawyer said.
The PDP had earlier said that Ayu had the right to appeal his sack by a Benue State High Court.
The party further said the appeal would determine once and for all the incessant issues of ward executives sacking national chairmen and members of the NEC.
Two national chairmen of the party have so far been sacked by their ward executives.
The first was Prince Secondus and the second was Ayu.
Speaking in an interview with THISDAY, the Deputy National Legal Adviser of the party, Okechukwu Osuoha, said the National Working Committee (NWC) was aware of the confirmation of Ayu’s suspension by the court.
He however added that there was nothing the party could do until the embattled national chairman had exhausted his rights of appeal.
According to Osuoha, “Like any other Nigerian, Ayu has a right of appeal to the highest court of the land.
“PDP has to be patient till the apex court takes a final decision on Ayu’s suspension before it could do otherwise, else, the party could be accused of infringing on his fundamental rights.
“We are particularly interested in the pronouncements of the court on the sack of the national chairman by the ward executives.
“We are interested because it is contrary to the constitution of the party that no member of the NEC would be sacked by the ward executive. This is another way of trying to instil discipline in the party,” the PDP deputy national adviser stated.
A Benue State High Court in Makurdi had ruled that Ayu should no longer hold office as the National Chairman of PDP having lost membership of the party in his Igyorov Council Ward of Gboko Local Government Area of the state.
A member of the PDP in the state, Terhide Utaan, had dragged Ayu to court following his suspension by his Igyorov ward executive committee after passing a vote of no confidence on him.
In suit No: MHC/85/2023, Utaan sought among other reliefs, a declaration that Ayu was no longer fit and qualified to hold office as the national chairman of the PDP, having lost membership of the party in his Igyorov council ward of Gboko, where he first registered as a member of the party.