The newly registered Peoples’ Democratic Movement (PDM) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have found themselves as respondents of a suit brought before the Federal High Court by five state chairmen of the Peoples’ Democratic Party in the South-West.
In the suit in which PDP factional leaders Alhaji Kawu Baraje and Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola were also joined as respondents, the five PDP leaders from Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Oyo States, asked the court to deregister PDM as a political party.
They specifically want the court to determine whether by the combined effect of section 224 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), paragraph 15 of the 3rd schedule to the constitution and section 78 (5) &(7) of the Electoral act 2010, INEC can validly register PDM as a political party when the patent purpose for which such registration was sought was to destabilise the PDP.
The politicians also want the court to determine whether by the combined effect of paragraph 15 of the 3rd schedule to the Constitution, Section 86 of the Electoral Act 2010 and Article 16(1) of the Constitution of the PDP, INEC can accord any recognition to Baraje and Oyinlola as national officers of the PDP especially when they are at the same time promoters of PDM only to facilitate the dismemberment of the PDP to populate the PDM.
The applicants are therefore seeking a declaration of the court that the only purpose for which PDM was set up is to destabilize the PDP and thereby cause, facilitate or allow factionalisation, disunity and disharmony in the party.
They also want the court to order INEC to conceal the registration of PDM as a political party in Nigeria and withdraw the certificate of registration issued to the party.
The applicants further urged the court for a perpetual injunction restraining PDM from continuing to parade themselves as leaders or national officers of the PDP.
In a 33 -paragraph affidavit in support of the suit, deposed to by the Ogun State Chairman of the PDP, Adebayo Dayo, the applicants claimed that no public notice of the application as a political party by the PDM of INEC’s intention to register the party was given.
They also stated that the PDM as a known political association has no offices in the 36 states of the federation as required by the constitution and has no members known to the public or to INEC apart from some card carrying members of the PDP.
The applicants also averred that the tenure of Baraje as acting national chairman expired on March 2011 and that Oyinlola was removed as the National secretary of the PDP by a court judgment on the 11th of January 2013.
They claimed, “Recently, some members of the PDP began to joust prematurely to position themselves advantageously for the unavoidable contest to be the candidates of the PDP for the 2015 general elections into various political offices in Nigeria.
“This entailed and involved contentions for control of the party’s structures in ward, local government, states and federal levels of the PDP. The contentions resulted in alignments and realignment within the PDP as is normal in democratic politics.
“Some members who perceived that they had failed in these contentions even when the primaries are still two years away resorted to new intrigues that led to the resignation of eight national officers of the party who had been elected at the National Convention of the PDP in March 2012 and the scheduling of a mini National Convention.
“There is no indication that the group intended to leave the PDP and they continue to contend for influential position in the PDP.
“However, unknown to the party, these members had applied to INEC when they have no known office in the country and the registration of PDM came as a surprise to the PDP.
“Having secured the registration from INEC, the minority group led by Baraje, Oyinlola and others began to execute a plan to separate a swathe of members of the PDP into a faction under their control and take them over with them into the PDM.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the matter.