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PDP expels Araraume, Amaechi

Posted by By JACOB EDI, Abuja and OLA AGBAJE, Lagos on 2007/04/11 | Views: 655 |

PDP expels Araraume, Amaechi


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday wielded the big stick as it announced the expulsion of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, Rotimi Amaechi, from the party, in a move widely seen as meant to deny the duo the fruits of their legal victory over the disputed governorship tickets of Imo and Rivers states respectively.

ē Iím still in the race - Araraume

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday wielded the big stick as it announced the expulsion of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, Rotimi Amaechi, from the party, in a move widely seen as meant to deny the duo the fruits of their legal victory over the disputed governorship tickets of Imo and Rivers states respectively.

Both men had won the PDP governorship primaries in their respective states, but the party substituted their names at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in controversial circumstances, which forced them to head for the court.

The court had given Amaechi victory. Also, Araraume won at the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The apex court, in a landmark verdict last Thursday, upheld Araraume as the valid PDP candidate for Imo governorship in Saturdayís election.
The PDPís decision to expel Araraume and Amaechi was the outcome of a meeting of the partyís National Working Committee (NWC), which reviewed the partyís state of preparedness for the polls as well as the Supreme Courtís ruling, among other issues.

In a statement after the meeting, the partyís National Publicity Secretary, John Odey, said PDP would not field any candidate for the governorship post in Imo State. Accordingly, the party said it had withdrawn Mr. Charles Ugwu, who was hitherto on the INEC nomination list.
The PDP also said it had "negative and damning State Security Service (SSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reports against him.
Odey said Araraume and Amaechi were given the boot "for gross indiscipline and wanton violation of the PDP constitution.

On Tuesday, President Olusegun Obasanjo, accompanied by the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, flew into Owerri , the Imo State capital, where he announced to the teeming party supporters the expulsion of Senator Araraume.
The president, while describing Senator Araraumeís court action as an act of indiscipline, explained that the PDPís decision was to ensure that no member of the PDP would vote for him. He boasted that the state would lose nothing in this regard.

In a swift reaction, the chairman, publicity committee of Destiny Organization, Dr. James Okoroma, described the purported expulsion of Araraume as a flagrant violation of both the constitution of the PDP and that of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Okoroma argued that the illegal expulsion was an infringement on the fundamental rights of Senator Araraume as spelt out under section 36 of the 1999 constitution, stating that the decision of the PDP to disregard the verdict of the Supreme Court on the Imo governorship ticket was a shameless affront to the laws of the land.

"A party that expels its members for going to court is indirectly encouraging anarchy. As usual we shall challenge this illegal expulsion and it will never stand," he said.
Okoroma, while insisting that Senator Araraume remains the authentic candidate of the PDP for the governorship election, in accordance with the Supreme Courtís judgment, urged Nigerians to rise against the illegal schemes of a clique of power mongers and dictators, who, according to him, were bent on destroying the nationís hard earned democracy.

He warned that democracy cannot thrive in a situation where the rule of law was violated with impunity by a handful of men who hold the rest of the people to ransom. He appealed to the Imo electorate to vote massively for Senator Araraume and other PDP candidates in Saturdayís elections.

Araraumeís lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the partyís decision cannot stop his client from contesting in Saturdayís election, disclosing that INEC had already complied with the Supreme Court order that Araraumeís name and particulars be included in the ballot paper.

The Senior Advocate said it was too late in the day for PDP to do anything about Araraumeís candidature, stressing: "He is already sponsored by the party in fact and in law. The party cannot withdraw that initial sponsorship now to circumvent the decision of the Supreme Court. They can only exercise that right 60 days before the election, except in the case of death."
Fagbemi, who said his position would have been the same if Araraume were not his client, expressed disgust at PDPís action.

"This is the height of lawlessness. It is unfortunate that the ruling party is leading in illegality. According to the constitution, the Supreme Court is the last and highest court. Its decisions must be obeyed and is not subject to any shenanigan. It is out rightly contemptuous and of no effect," he said.

Lagos Lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) also took a swipe at the party over the purported expulsion.
Reacting in separate telephone interviews with Daily Sun, both legal luminaries said by the courtís verdict Araraume remained the partyís standard-bearer for Imo State.
Fawehinmi described the PDPís action as "reckless contempt against the Supreme Court that deserved serious sanction.

"The PDP officials should be made to face the full wrath of the law and be made to pay dearly for this infraction on the order of the apex court in the land.
"By expelling him, PDP officials are trying to render nugatory the express order of the Supreme Court. That lawless and illegal decision of the party should not be allowed to stand. Araraume should proceed immediately with contempt proceeding against the PDP officials, except Mr. President, who is covered under section 308. Under Section 287 (1) of the constitution, the decision of the Supreme Court must be respected by all authorities in the land," he said.

Fawehinmi warned INEC against deferring to PDP rather than to the order of the Supreme Court. "They should not allow PDP to put them in trouble, by disobeying the express order of the apex court. They should put his name and picture on the PDP column on the ballot paper," he said.
On his part, Olanipekun lamented the development, saying: "We have never come across this kind of situation. It is very sad and baffling.
"His expulsion cannot be retroactive. In the face of law, he is still the partyís candidate. He contested the primaries and won as PDP candidate. When he was denied the fruit of his victory, he took the lawful way by going to the court.

"The judgment of the Supreme Court confirmed he is the PDP candidate. So what they have done cannot stand. It is patently illegal. If President Obasanjo is expelled today, he cannot lose his office as president. Araraume remains PDP candidate in the state," he said.
Meanwhile, the PDP said that the state executive council stands suspended. In its place a caretaker committee to be headed by Dr E.A. Anokwa and Barrister Rex Anunobi, as chairman and secretary had been put in place.

The party equally reaffirmed that party members whose names continued to feature as candidates of other political parties should consider themselves expelled from the party.

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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown