A High Court sitting in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State, on Friday, affirmed the removal of Senator Iyorchia Ayu as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Giving judgment, the Chief Judge of the state, Maurice Ikpambese, said Ayu could no longer hold the office as the national chairman having lost his membership of the party at his Igyorov council ward, Gboko Local Government Area of the state.
Justice Ikpambese resolved all the issues in favour of the plaintiff.
In the judgment, Ikpambese held that by virtue of Article 8(9)of the constitution of the PDP, Ayu ceased to be a member of the PDP with his failure to pay his subscription and membership dues.
On the claim that the ward executive committee of the party cannot discipline a member of the National Executive Committee, the judge held that by the provisions of Article 46(1)of the PDP Constitution, the ward executive of the PDP had the power to discipline a member of the NEC of the party.
The judge stated that Ayu did not show proof that he had paid his membership subscription fee, neither did he challenge his suspension before any organ of the party or before any court, thereby leaving the court with the impression that he had consented to his suspension by his ward executive committee.
He further said that Ayu had lost his membership of the party even before he was suspended by his ward executive committee.
The judge said, “The plaintiff has proven his case, all the questions for determination have been resolved in favour of the plaintiff. He is entitled to all the reliefs sought. I so order.”
A member of the PDP in Benue State, Conrad Terhide Utaan, had dragged Ayu to court after his Igyorov Ward executive committee suspended him.
Utaan in suit No: MHC/85/2023 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.
He sought a declaration of court that Ayu could no longer hold himself out, function and preside over the affairs of the PDP as its national chairman having seized to enjoy all the rights and privileges of membership by virtue of his suspension by the ward executive committee of the party in his Igyorov Council Ward of Gboko Local Government where he used to be a member of the party.
The plaintiff further sought an order restraining Ayu from parading himself as the national chairman of the PDP having lost membership of the party in his Igyorov Council Ward, amongst other reliefs.
Ayu through his counsel J.J Usman (SAN) filed preliminary objections to the suit bothering on the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit, saying it was an internal affair of the party.
He also challenged the locus standi of the plaintiff to institute the action, adding that the plaintiff had not exhausted the internal dispute resolution mechanism of the party, amongst other objections.