Ayu can no longer serve as PDP National Chairman, Benue High Court rules

The Benue State High Court in Makurdi delivered a significant ruling on Friday, declaring that Iyorchia Ayu is no longer eligible to hold the position of National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

This decision came as a result of Ayu’s loss of party membership in his Igyorov Council Ward of Gboko Local Government Area in the state.

The ruling followed a legal action brought by Conrad Terhide Utaan, a PDP member in Benue State, who challenged Ayu’s position after his suspension by the Igyorov ward executive committee.

In the case with suit No: MHC/85/2023, Utaan sought various reliefs, including a declaration that Ayu is no longer qualified to serve as the national chairman of the PDP due to his loss of party membership in his Igyorov council ward. He also requested an order restraining Ayu from acting as the PDP’s national chairman.

Ayu, through his counsel J.J Usman, SAN, raised preliminary objections challenging the court’s jurisdiction and the plaintiff’s locus standi.

However, Utaan’s counsel, Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, argued against these objections, urging the court to dismiss them and grant the reliefs sought.

Delivering his judgment that lasted for two hours, Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese, dismissed Ayu’s preliminary objections and ruled in favor of Utaan.

He said: “The plaintiff has proven his case, all the questions for determination have been resolved in favor of the plaintiff, he is entitled to all the reliefs sought. I so order.”

The judge cited Article 8(9) of the PDP constitution, saying, “By virtue of Article 8(9) of the constitution of the PDP, Ayu seized to be a member of the PDP with his failure to pay his subscription and membership fee.”

He further added: “On the claim that the ward executive committee of the party cannot discipline a member of the National Executive Committee, going by the provisions of Article 46(1) of the PDP Constitution, the ward executive of the PDP has the powers to discipline a member of the NEC of the party.”

Reacting to the judgment, Utaan’s counsel, Mike Assoh, expressed satisfaction.

He said: “The court has validated the action of the Igyorov ward executive committee of the party against Ayu, for his (Ayu) failure to pay his membership subscription fee.”

The ward executive committee had accused Ayu of anti-party activities.

Vanger Dooyum, the secretary of the party in Igyorov ward, said during the suspension: “Ayu’s anti-party activities – alongside his allies – contributed to PDP’s loss in his ward and local government in the governorship election.

“Most of Ayu’s closest allies worked for the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC), which resulted in the abysmal performance of the PDP in Igyorov Ward.”

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