PDP sues Gov Ayade, deputy to court

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has been sued to court by the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) pursuing an order instructing him and his deputy to leave office being members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that did not succeed the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC and the deputy governor, Prof. Ivara Ejemot Esuas were enlisted as defendants, in the suit made available to some newsmen in Calabar, yesterday.

Governor Ben Ayade

The Guardian reports that in 2015 and 2019, Ayade was elected on the platform of the PDP, but decamped to APC on May 20, 2021 alongside his deputy, and announced that Cross River State is “now an APC state” and effectively resulted in the governance of the state to be in the control of the APC.

Nexus News learned that the PDP, in the issue instituted at the Federal High Court, Abuja, contended that the mandate given by the electorate in Cross River State was to the PDP and Ayade as the candidate of the party at the election, and that the governor cannot substitute the mandate to APC or any other political party.

Hence, PDP, in the suit filed by five senior advocates of Nigeria led by Emmanuel C. Ukala, is striving for a judicial declaration giving it a chance to appoint a replacement to the seat of the governor and the deputy governor in Cross River State.

“A declaration that in view of the provisions of section 221 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the democratic system of governance operated in Nigeria, votes at the election and elections are won by political parties and not their candidate or the candidates sponsored at the election by the political parties.”

Furthermore, the party is seeking an order directing the1st defendant (INEC) “to immediately receive from the plaintiff (PDP), the name of its candidates to replace the 3rd and 4th defendants (Ayade and Esu) for the purpose of utilising the lawful votes cast in favour of the plaintiff or in the alternative directing the 1st defendant to hold a gubernatorial election for Cross River State in accordance with Section 177 © of the Constitution (excluding the 3rd and 4th defendants who are disqualified from participating in the election by virtue of Section 192 (1) (b) of the Constitution) arising from abandonment of the majority lawful votes and the offices occasioned by the action of the 3rd and 4th defendants by reason of their becoming members of the 2nd defendant who did not win majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.”

In a response, the Special Adviser to Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita stated: “In any case, given the relevant provisions of the constitution, they are just jokers and jesters who are embarking on mere academic exercise for cheap headlines in the media.”

In another news, the PDP Board of Trustees has warned members against taking drastic positions on the case of zoning of presidency ahead of 2023 general elections.
Chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, noted that such positions could worsen the crisis in the party.

Nexus News recall that the party’s NEC had endorsed the zoning of its chair to the North, a development many had interpreted to imply that the party may zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the South.

Some PDP chieftains of northern extraction, including some governors who have been eying the party’s presidential ticket, have kicked against the zoning, which they considered inimical to their aspiration.

The warning follows PDP appointment of Governor Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State as head of the 20-member committee to screen candidates from the northern region interested in the position of national chairman of the party.

All the 19 states in the north and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are anticipated to nominate one person each to the Fintiri
panel.

These were the conclusion of the caucus meeting held behind closed doors at the Bauchi State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja on Thursday night.

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