Court Denies Bids by PDP Leaders to Overturn Restraining Orders

A Nigerian court dismissed appeals by PDP leaders to overturn restraining orders, as the party postpones resolving its leadership crisis to August, with Umar Damagum continuing as acting chair.

Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
Updated On
New Update
Court Denies Bids by PDP Leaders to Overturn Restraining Orders

Court Denies Bids by PDP Leaders to Overturn Restraining Orders

A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed applications by former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman Uche Secondus, sacked Rivers governor Celestine Omehia, and former deputy speaker Austin Adiele Opara seeking to vacate restraining orders that barred them from attending PDP leadership meetings. The court had earlier issued ex-parte orders restraining the three PDP chieftains from attending or participating in the party's National Executive Committee meetings pending the determination of substantive suits filed against them by some PDP members in Rivers State.

The court ruled that the applications for stay of the orders were wrongly filed and incompetent, as the proper procedure was to apply to the court to vary or discharge the orders, not to appeal them. The court dismissed the applications and adjourned to April 25 for hearing of pending motions on interim injunctions filed by the plaintiffs in the three cases.

Meanwhile, the PDP has postponed the resolution of its leadership crisis to August and directed Ambassador Umar Damagum to continue leading the party in an acting position. The party's presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, were present at the party's national caucus and NEC meetings, but did not make any statements. The party will revisit the leadership crisis in the next two months and look at the constitution to resolve the issue with no rancor.

The North Central Zone insisted on its constitutional right to provide a replacement for the suspended Iyorchia Ayu, and the acting chairman, Damagum, will conduct the coming congresses before a new chairman is appointed. The party's National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said the issue of the national chairman will be revisited in August when another NEC meeting is expected to take place.

Damagum stated that the tussle for the chairmanship position is not a matter of life and death, and the party needs to constitute a strong reconciliation committee to unite its aggrieved members. The Board of Trustees Chairman, Senator Adolphus Wabara, said that deliberate litigation by some members is hindering the solutions proposed for the leadership crisis.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP has asked Umar Damagum to continue as the acting national chairman of the party, pending the election of a new chairman in August. The PDP Governors Forum chairman, Governor Bala Mohammed, stated that the party will look at the issue of leadership and the party's constitution in the next two months without rancor. The NEC also approved the timetable for the party's congresses, reconstituted the Party Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees, and extended the life of the Party Constitution Amendment Committee.

In a related development, former PDP National Chairman Senator Iyorcha Ayu has withdrawn his appeal challenging his removal from the position, which is believed to be connected with the upcoming NEC meeting.

The acting national chair of the PDP, Umar Damagum, has survived attempts to remove him from office, at least for now. The party's national caucus deferred the issue of whether Damagum should remain or be removed from office to the next national executive committee (NEC) meeting. The national caucus recognized the importance of conducting further consultations on the matter and prioritized maintaining party unity.

"The issue of the national chairman will be considered in the next NEC meeting scheduled for August 15th," said Damagum. "The leadership of the party is not a do-or-die affair."

Key Takeaways

  • Court dismisses applications by Secondus, Omehia, Opara to vacate restraining orders
  • PDP postpones resolution of leadership crisis to August, Damagum to continue as acting chair
  • North Central Zone to provide replacement for suspended Ayu, new chair to be elected in August
  • Ayu withdraws appeal challenging his removal, Damagum survives attempts to remove him
  • PDP prioritizes party unity, leadership issue to be considered at next NEC meeting in August