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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Federal Court Bars PDP from Replacing Acting Chairman Umar Damagum

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ABUJA, Nigeria – A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued an interim order preventing the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from appointing or nominating anyone to replace Umar Damagum as its Acting National Chairman.

The ruling, which comes amid a fractious internal conflict within the party, was delivered by Justice Peter Lifu based on what was described as an “affidavit of extreme urgency.”

The legal action, spearheaded by Senator Umar Maina and Alhaji Zanna Gaddama, challenges the party’s leadership decisions.

The plaintiffs secured a temporary injunction that maintains Damagum’s role until a full hearing is conducted.

The case, registered as FHC/ABJ/CS/579/2024, names the PDP, its National Working Committee, National Executive Committee, Board of Trustees, and the Independent National Electoral Commission as defendants.

During the proceedings, the court heard from the plaintiffs’ legal team, led by Mr. M. O. Onyilokwu, who argued fervently for the necessity of the interim order. Justice Lifu agreed, setting the next hearing date for May 14, 2024.

He stated, “The Defendants/Respondents are hereby restrained in the interim, from appointing, selecting, nominating any person to replace Amb. Umar Illiya Damagum as National Chairman or Acting National Chairman of the 1st Defendant/Respondent, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”

Furthermore, the order restricts the PDP and its affiliates from recognizing any other individual as the Acting National Chairman or from acting on any documents not signed by Damagum.

The court also required the plaintiffs to commit to paying damages if it is later found that the injunction was improperly granted.

This court decision comes in the backdrop of political unrest within the PDP, with factions openly disputing Damagum’s leadership.

Approximately 60 PDP House of Representatives members, led by Ikenga Ugochinyere of Imo State, had previously demanded Damagum’s resignation, accusing him of favoritism towards the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Additionally, members from the North-central zone have called for Damagum’s removal, citing a breach of zoning arrangements stipulated in the party’s constitution.

Despite these challenges, the National Caucus of the PDP recently extended Damagum’s tenure, which has been met with mixed reactions within the party’s ranks.

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