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Judge drops Ayu’s case, proceeds to election tribunal

A Benue State High Court sitting in Makurdi has adjourned further hearing till April 28 in the suit seeking to remove the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, from office.

The suit was filed by a member of the PDP, Conrad Utaan, seeking to remove Ayu as National Chairman of the party

Utaan’s action followed the suspension of Ayu by his Igyorov ward executive members who earlier passed a vote of no confidence in him.

Utaan, in the suit, is urging the court to declare that Ayu is no longer fit and qualified to hold office as the National Chairman of the PDP, having lost membership of the party in his Igyorov Council Ward of Gboko, where he first registered as a member of the party.

At the hearing of the case on Monday, Ayu’s lawyer, J.J Usman (SAN), told the court that he was withdrawing the preliminary objection and counter-affidavit he filed on April 3 in response to the suit.

The plaintiff’s counsel, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), though did not oppose the application for the withdrawal of the two processes but asked the court to award cost against Ayu, saying the plaintiff was prepared for hearing of the substantive suit.

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Ukala added that the defendants only served fresh processes on him while in court and he would need time to file his response.

He also told the judge that the parties had agreed that the preliminary objection, the counter-affidavit and the substantive suit should be heard together.

Justice Kpochi, after listening to the submissions of the counsel, adjourned till April 28 for the hearing of the substantive suit.

The judge, however, informed the lawyers that he would be returning the case file to the Chief Judge of Benue State to reassign it to another judge as he would be embarking on a national assignment at the election petitions tribunal.

Recall that Justice Kpochi had on March 27, 2023 issued an interim order restraining Senator Iyorchia Ayu from parading himself as the National Chairman of the PDP pending the hearing and determination of the Suit No. MHC/85/2023.

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