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New PDP faces D-day in court over its future

By The Citizen
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The Federal High Court, Abuja will today decide the fate of the New Peoples Democratic Party, the faction of the ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Abubakar Baraje.

The court, presided over by Justice S.E Chukwu, will sit on the merit of an application made yesterday by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur seeking to halt further activities within the faction.

His application came on a day that four key actors in the nPDP- Baraje, Atiku Abubakar, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Dr Sam Jaja, adduced reasons why the court should strike out the suit entered against them by a faction of the PDP loyal to Tukur.

Tukur and 11 national officers of the PDP had in an ex parte motion they filed before the court last Friday, sought for an order of interim injunction restraining the four respondents from parading themselves as national executives of the party.

The plaintiffs had also prayed the court to bar the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from recognising, dealing and relating with the Baraje- led faction, as well as restrain them from operating or opening a parallel national, state, local government area and ward secretariat under the appellation of 'New PDP', pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

Besides, Tukur and his group urged the court to stop the splinter group from interfering with the duties and functions of the newly elected Executives of the party.

Nevertheless, Justice Chukwu declined to grant the ex-parte application, even as he directed counsel to the plaintiffs, Chief Tochukwu Onwugbufor, SAN, to go and put all the respondents on notice.

While adjourning the matter, the court ordered the warring factions to maintain their status-quo, pending the determination of the suit.

Meanwhile, at the resumed sitting on the case yesterday, counsel to the Baraje group, Mr Ahmed Raji, SAN, informed the court that they filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.

In the preliminary objection, the Baraje group maintained that the subject matter of the suit had to do with domestic affairs of the PDP, contending that the suit ought to have been filed before a state or Federal Capital Territory High Court, instead of the FHC.

An attempt by Raji to persuade the court to hear and determine the issue of jurisdiction before delving into the substantive matter was vehemently opposed by counsel to the Tukur led faction, Chief Tochukwu Onwugbufor, SAN, who pleaded the court to grant an interim order directing the two parties to maintain the status quo.

After listening to the parties, Justice Chukwu adjourned the matter till today to rule on whether or not to grant application for an interim order of status quo as prayed for by the Tukur-led PDP.