Kawu Baraje-led faction of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been ordered to stop parading itself as a parallel faction of the party by an Abuja High Court on Friday. The court also recognised the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party as the authentic leadership of PDP.
Justice Evoh Chukwu said this in his judgment in a suit brought to it
on September 6, by the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and 12 others.
He also restrained the respondents from operating secretariats of the “New PDP” at the national, state or local levels.
"I further order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to cancel the result of the Special Convention of the party organized on August 31 at the Eagles Square in Abuja. "I will not make any order as to cost,’’ he said.
Tukur and other members of the NWC, who were elected at the Special National Convention on August 31, had filed a suit seeking to restrain Baraje and two others from parading themselves as executive members of the party. The others are the factional deputy National Chairman, Sam Jaja, and factional National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who is a member of the faction, was also joined in the suit.
The ruling by the court followed a High Court sitting in Lagos that had a week ago dismissed a suit filed by the Baraje faction against the Tukur-led leadership of PDP.
Justice Adefope Okojie dismissed the suit on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter because it originated outside its territorial jurisdiction.
The Baraje faction had approached the court on September 1, asking it to restrain Tukur and three other officials of his faction (Uche Secondus, Kema Chikwe, and Olisa Metuh) who are the Deputy National Chairman, Woman Leader, and National Publicity Secretary respectively, from parading themselves as national officers of the party.
The decision of the Lagos court followed the preliminary objection filed by counsels to Tukur - Joe Kyari-Gadzama, and Emeka Etiaba. Both Counsels argued that the writs of summons did not comply with the mandatory requirements of Section 97 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act because they were not endorsed.
However, counsel to Baraje and two other officials of his faction, Robert Emukpaeruo, in his reply to the objection, argued that the court had jurisdiction to entertain the suit. Justice Okojie, however, stated in her ruling that even Baraje and his group had claimed in their affidavit that the course of action, which was the special national convention of the PDP, arose in Abuja.
The judge said the PDP had its registered office in Abuja and that none of the defendants was resident in Lagos State.
INEC had also on October 2 turned down the request by the Baraje faction to recognize its NWC as the authentic leadership of the ruling party.
It will reminded, on Saturday, August 31, a new faction, led by Kawu Baraje and consisting of seven of the party’s 23 governors, has announced that it has taken over the party. Since then the crisis within the ruling party has been escalating in different forms and shapes.