The Benue state High Court has issued a ruling stating that Iyorchia Ayu is no longer eligible to serve as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) due to his loss of membership in his Igyorov Council Ward of Gboko Local Government Area.
The court case was initiated by Terhide Utaan, a member in of PDP Benue state, after Ayu was suspended by the Igyorov ward executive committee following a vote of no confidence against him.
In suit No: MHC/85/2023, Utaan sought a declaration that Ayu is unfit and disqualified to hold the position of national chairman, having lost his party membership in his Igyorov council ward where he initially registered. Utaan also requested a court declaration that Ayu cannot function as the PDP national chairman and sought an order to prevent Ayu from presenting himself as the party’s chairman after losing his membership in his Igyorov Council Ward, among other demands.
Ayu, represented by J.J Usman, SAN, raised preliminary objections to the suit, questioning the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case and claiming that it was an internal matter of the political party. He also challenged the locus standi of the plaintiff, Utaan, arguing that the plaintiff had not exhausted the party’s internal dispute resolution mechanism.
Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, representing Utaan, argued against the preliminary objections and urged the court to dismiss them and grant the reliefs sought by the plaintiff.
After a 2-hour judgment, Chief Judge Maurice Ikpambese of Benue State resolved all the preliminary objections in favor of the plaintiff and dismissed them.
Justice Ikpambese ruled that Ayu ceased to be a member of the PDP due to his failure to pay his subscription and membership fee, as stipulated in Article 8(9) of the PDP constitution.
Counsel to Utaan, Mike Assoh, expressed satisfaction with the judgment, stating that the court affirmed the actions of the Igyorov ward executive committee for Ayu’s failure to pay his membership subscription fee.
The ward executive committee had accused Ayu of engaging in anti-party activities and passed a vote of no confidence against him, claiming that his actions contributed to the PDP’s loss in his ward and local government during the governorship election.