The Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party yesterday suffered multiple blows in its quest to gain legitimacy as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, rejected its list of officials as the authentic leadership of the party just as it was floored at a Lagos High Court in its suit against the Bamanga Tukur-led faction of the party.
INEC stated that it would not withdraw the recognition it accorded the Bamanga Tukur group since it monitored the processes that led to his emergence as the National Chairman of the party as well as other officials of his group.
The clarification by INEC was sequel to a letter written by the National Secretary of the New Peoples Democratic Party, nPDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, seeking the commission’s recognition of Baraje and members of his National Working Committee as the authentic leaders of the party.
INEC’s letter which was dated October 2, 2013 with reference number, INEC/LEG/PDP/19/111/245 and entitled: Notification of Changes in the leadership of the PDP and request for formal recognition was signed by the Acting Secretary of the commission, Mr. U. F. Usman.
The letter read, “The commission acknowledges the receipt of your letters dated 1st and 23rd September respectively wherein you requested the commission’s recognition of the Baraje-led faction and newly-elected NWC.
“You will recall that the commission monitored the National Convention and Special National Convention of the PDP held on the 24th of March 2012 and 31st of August 2013 at the Eagle Square, Abuja, after notices to the commission.
“A NWC was elected at the two conventions with Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the National Chairman. The commission will not withdraw recognition from the leadership of the PDP elected at the conventions duly monitored by the commission.
“Be guided accordingly,” the commission said.
The other defeat suffered by the Baraje faction at a Lagos High Court saw its suit against the National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and three others, struck out for want of jurisdiction.
The suit was filed by Baraje, Dr. Sam Jaja and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola on September 1, 2013.
The nPDP had dragged Tukur and his co-defendants to court praying for an interlocutory injunction to stop them from parading themselves as PDP National Executive Committee members.
Other defendants in the suit were Uche Secondus, Deputy National Chairman; Dr Kema Chikwe, Women Leader and Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary.
The counsel to the defendants, Mr. Joe Kyari-Gadzama, SAN, and Mr Emeka Etiaba, had in their earlier preliminary notice of objection, asked the court to strike out the suit for want of jurisdiction.
In a counter-argument, counsel to the plaintiffs, Robert Emukpaeruo, stated that the court had jurisdiction to hear the suit.
Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie in her short ruling held that the Lagos State High Court lacked the powers to assume jurisdiction over a matter which originated outside its purview.
Justice Adefope-Okojie noted that the applicants had affirmed in their affidavit that the course of action, which was the national mini-convention of the PDP, arose in Abuja and that the PDP had its registered office in Abuja while none of the defendants are resident in Lagos State.
She then ruled that,”with the defendants not resident in Lagos and the subject matter originating in Abuja, the High Court of Lagos State has no power to assume jurisdiction over this suit. I accordingly make an order striking out the suit”.