NIGERIA: Court Assumes Jurisdiction over Amaechi, PDP Suit

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The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has ruled that it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed by Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, challenging his suspension from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP had on   May 27, suspended Amaechi from the party over his alleged refusal to rescind the decision of the House of Assembly to suspend the chairman, vice-chairman and 17 councillors of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council.
Amaechi had approached the court challenging his suspension and seeking an injunction restraining the PDP from taking further actions against him.
At the resumed hearing of Amaechi’s suit against the PDP yesterday,   Justice Emmanuel Ogbuji  said the court had jurisdiction to entertain the matter and fixed July 8 for the commencement of hearing.

The ruling followed two different motions filed by counsel to the PDP and the state Chairman of the party, Chief Felix Obuah;  Mr. Donald Wigwe and Mr. Emmanuel Okala respectively, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.
Both Wigwe and Okala insisted that whenever an issue of jurisdiction has been raised by respondent/applicants, the court must first determine it before entertaining any other issue before it.
After hearing their arguments, Ogbuji said the court had jurisdiction to hear the matter.
He also ordered both parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the motion on notice before the court.

The order came as counsel to Amaechi, Mr. Adeboye Adebogun, prayed the court to entertain his motion for interlocutory injunction, saying that he had served respondents on time and that respondents were summoned to reply to his motion and not to come up with a matter of jurisdiction, which he said was served him just the previous day.
Adebogun had also prayed the court to give him an order for all parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of the issues pending in the Court.

Meanwhile, Action  Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in the 2011 election, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, has resigned his membership of the party.
Sekibo in a June 5 letter, addressed to the national chairman of the party, said he was quitting the party for personal reasons.
There had been speculations that Sekibo, who left the PDP to challenge Amaechi in the 2011 elections under the ACN, might return to the PDP.

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