PDP Chieftains Sue Bode George over BoT Membership

Two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Alhaji Badmus Agboola and Dauda Ajadi Atomoh, have urged a Federal High Court, Lagos, to disqualify the former Chairman of the Board of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA),Chief Olabode George, as a member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), having been convicted for corruption.

This came as the South-west chapter of the Youth Vanguard of the PDP called on the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamaga Tukur, to call George to order.

George, who was jailed by Justice Joseph Oyewole of the state High Court for offences relating to fraud committed during his tenure as chairman of NPA, however, had the judgment was upheld by the Court of Appeal, Lagos.

But the plaintiffs, who are urging the court to declare that in view of the defendant being an ex-convict, he was not qualified to occupy the office, also joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and PDP in the suit.

The chieftains are also asking the court to determine whether, based on the conviction, the PDP was not obliged to bar George from functioning as a BoT member.

They urged the court to declare that by the combined effect of Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 86 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), INEC could not ignore George’s occupation of the office in spite of his conviction.

They prayed the court to hold that in view of INEC’s constitutionally-assigned supervisory role over political parties, it is obliged to direct the PDP to remove George as a BoT member.

The plaintiffs prayed for an order directing the party to bar George from functioning as a BoT member, consider his position vacant and proceed to fill the position in accordance with the stipulations of its constitution.

They further sought the court’s order removing George from the office, as well as an order of mandatory injunction compelling INEC to rectify its records pertaining to PDP by deleting George’s name as a BoT member.

The plaintiffs said the PDP BoT is one of the highest organs of the party, which greatly influences the emergence of the party flag bearers for general elections in Nigeria.

“In performing their duty of harmonising the relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government and advising on policies
and programmes of government, the members of the national caucus of the PDP influence the programmes of government since the PDP is
currently the ruling party in Nigeria.

“This is an appropriate case in which the 1st defendant (INEC) ought to exercise its powers under the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act to ensure that the 2nd defendant (PDP) removes the 3rd defendant from the membership of its BoT and national caucus since he is a person of questionable character and integrity.”

The suit, numbered FHC/L/CS/973/2013, was filed on July 11, and the defendants are expected to respond.

Meanwhile, the South-west PDP Youth Vanguard, in its argument, criticised George for “his divisive and self-serving politics” as it relates to the activities of the Chief Ishola Filani-led Caretaker Committee of the party in the South-west.”

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