Court affirms Ayu’s suspension, removal as PDP Chairman… Says he ceased being a member for failure to pay membership dues

Written by on June 2, 2023

A Makurdi High Court, has ruled that Iyorchia Ayu can no longer hold office as the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, having lost membership of the party in his Igyorov council ward of Gboko local government area of Benue State in March.

He ruled that Ayu’s membership of the PDP elapsed with his failure to pay his membership subscription fee.

A member of the PDP in Benue State, Conrad Terhide Utaan dragged Ayu to court after his Igyorov ward executive committee of the party suspended him after passing a vote of no confidence on him.

In suit No: MHC/85/2023, Utaan, sought among other reliefs a declaration that, Ayu is 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.

Ayu through his counsel Johnson Usman filed preliminary objections to the suit bordering on the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit, saying it was an internal affair of a political party.

He also challenged the locus standi of the plaintiff, Utaan to institute the action, adding that the plaintiff had not exhausted the internal dispute resolution mechanism of the party, amongst other objections.

Utaan through his counsel, Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, argued against the preliminary objections and urged the court to discountenance the preliminary objections and grant the reliefs sought by the plaintiff.

Delivering his judgment that lasted for 2-hours, the Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese, resolved all the issues raised in the preliminary objections in favour of the plaintiff and accordingly dismissed same.

Justice Ikpambese held that by virtue of Article 8(9) of the constitution of the PDP, Ayu ceased to be a member of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, with his failure to pay his subscription and membership fee.

On the claim that the ward executive committee of the party cannot discipline a member of the National Executive Committee, NEC, Justice Ikpambese held that, going by the provisions of Article 46(1)of the PDP Constitution, the ward executive of the PDP have the powers to discipline a member of the NEC of the party.

The Judge pointed out that Ayu did not show proof that he has paid his membership subscription fee, and did not challenge his suspension before any organ of the party or before any court, thereby leaving the court with the impression that he has consented to his suspension by his ward executive committee.

He said Ayu had lost his membership of the party even before he was suspended by his ward executive committee.

Justice Ikpambese accordingly resolved all the issues in favour of the plaintiff.


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