Court Dismisses Petition Against Akwa Ibom PDP
A federal high court sitting in Abuja has dismissed the suit challenging the conduct of ward congresses held to elect Adhoc delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), describing it as lacking in merit.
In the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/606/2022 brought by Friday Iwok and 30 others, the court also held that by SECTION 84(13) the Court has no power to stop or restrain the conduct of Primaries elections of political parties.
The Court held that the plaintiffs did not prove that the PDP disenfranchised any of its members.
It also agreed that the plaintiffs failed to show any evidence of people shortlisted for the ward congress. The court also agreed that the plaintiffs didn’t show how their rights where breached.
The court held that Section 84(3) does not apply to Election of AD-HOC DELEGATES
And agreed with the defendants that it would be unfair for the court to stop the primaries of the PDP in breach of the electoral law as amended.
The argument of the plaintiffs among other things on this was that there was no memorandum of appearance filed by the Defendants before challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the issue.
But the court agreed with the defendants that the issue of filing a memorandum of appearance was discretionary and not mandatory.
On the issue of the congress being the internal affairs of the party. The court held that the matter was non justiciable as the matter was an internal matter of the 2nd defendant.
It agreed that the plaintiffs did exhaust the internal mechanism of the party before commencing the suit. But rules that court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
On the legal rights of Iwok and his friends to institute the suit, the court agreed that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to institute the case since they could not prove that they participate in the process
“The court is merely stating the obvious that the plaintiffs lacked the right to challenge a process they never participated.”
The court also held that the plaintiffs were not ward executives who are charged to conduct the exercise by the party’s laws and also dismissed their claims that the notice by the Publicity Secretary of the 2nd defendant, was only intimating everyone to go and participate in the exercise and did not bar any eligible member of the party from participating.
Your judgement is a product of exemplary courage.
On Plaintiff’s application for the court to nullify the primaries of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State, as a violation of its Status Quo Ante Bellum Order, the court dismissed the application saying it was unnecessary since the Stay of Execution Order sought by the 2nd defendant, PDP has already been granted by the Court. “It will amount to giving in one hand and taking from the other”, Justice Obiora Egwatu posited.
Reacting, Barr Emmanuel Enoidem who represented the 2nd Defendant PDP on behalf of Chief Paul Usoroh, SAN, describe the judgement as a display of courage and character by the judge.
He said the judgement was a benchmark as it was the first interpretation of the new electoral law as amended.
Barr Uwemedimo Nwoko, SAN on his part thanked the judge for the industry committed in delivering the landmark judgement on the novel electoral law.