By James KANYIP
The online version of the Daily Post Nigeria Newspaper reported earlier today, 20/12/2017, that some aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja had announced the emergence of a parallel PDP known as “Fresh PDP”.
The paper further reported that “Fresh PDP” said that the emergence of the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) at the December 9, 2017 National Convention of the PDP would not stand; and that the “Fresh PDP” is the authentic PDP.
The question: is “Fresh PDP ” the same as “PDP”?
For an association to be recognised under our Constitution and other extant laws by its name, it must first be registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Section 222 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 provides as follows:
“No association by whatever name called shall function as a party, unless –
“(a) the names and addresses of its national officers are registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission;
“(b) the membership of the association is open to every citizen of Nigeria irrespective of his place of origin, circumstance of birth, sex, religion or ethnic grouping;
“(c) a copy of its constitution is registered in the principal office of the Independent National Electoral Commission in such form as may be prescribed by the Independent National Electoral Commission;
“(d) any alteration in its registered constitution is also registered in the principal office of the Independent National Electoral Commission within thirty days of the making of such alteration
“(e) the name of the association, its symbol or logo does not contain any ethnic or religious connotation or give the appearance that the activities of the association are confined to a part only of the geographical area of Nigeria; and
“(f) the headquarters of the association is situated in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
The “Peoples Democratic Party” (PDP) is the only constitutionally and statutorily registered and recognized political party by that name. It is the only political party registered and recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by that name or nomenclature. It is the only juristic personality known to law with the power, inter alia, to sue and be sued in that name.
The “Fresh PDP” or “Fresh Peoples Democratic Party”, as the case may be, is not the same thing in law as the “PDP” or “Peoples Democratic Party” known to law. The addition of the prefix “Fresh” to the name makes the new association fundamentally and radically different from “PDP”. Therefore, “Fresh PDP” and “PDP” are not the same in law. They are different.
The fundamental difference between the two is that while “PDP” is a duly registered political party by INEC, “Fresh PDP” is not. And, since it is not so registered, it is an illegal and unlawful association or group.
Based on the provision of section 222 of the Constitution quoted above, it goes without much ado to hold the stronger view that “Fresh PDP” is not a registered association; and it is not the same as “PDP”.
Because of the foregoing reasons, “Fresh PDP” cannot be parallel to PDP. The truth is they are widely gulf apart in law and in fact. We still have one and only authentic PDP in Nigeria which is chaired by Prince Uche Secondus and his Team.
In the sum, “Fresh PDP” is an illegal contraption which must be criminalised, proscribed and prosecuted anon!