1. A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought by some aggrieved members of Akwa Ibom’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the annulment of the state primary held between May 22-26 .
2. The Nigerian News Agency reports that primary elections have been held to choose the party’s candidates for the 2023 elections for the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and Governorship.
3. The aggrieved members, who were plaintiffs in the lawsuit, also sought the court order overturning the district’s April 30 convention result that produced ad hoc delegates voting in the primary.
4. Applicants; Mr. Friday Iwok and 30 others sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), PDP and elected ad hoc delegates who emerged from district conventions held as defendants 1 to 331, respectively.
5. At sentencing, Judge Obiora Egwuatu found the claim to be without merit.
6. Judge Obiora said the plaintiffs, having not participated in the election of party delegates in the state, lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.
seven. According to him, for a party to have standing, it must have participated in the election whose result it contests.
8. On the plaintiffs’ argument that the PDP’s action violated the issue of fair trial, the judge said the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate how the party denied their constitutional rights.
9. Egwuatu said that although the plaintiffs claimed to have bought the expressions of interest and nomination forms to participate in the district conventions which produced the delegates, he argued that the party’s public notice for the election was clear. and unprecedented.
ten. “The notice informed the public that all accredited members of the PDP should participate in the elections, especially those aspiring to be elected as ad hoc delegates.
11. “This notice did not exclude any member,” he said.
12. He said the plaintiffs failed to show that the PDP used any criteria to select or disqualify anyone.
13. “Whoever asserts must prove,” he added, citing articles of the law on evidence to support his decision.
14. Egwuatu, who agreed with the plaintiffs that by filing an original summons to commence their case, the case was properly dismissed, however, he argued that the plaintiffs failed to prove any wrongdoing of the party against them.
15. He therefore said that the court did not have the power to consider the lawsuit to be a matter related to the internal affairs of the party.
16. “This court has no jurisdiction to resolve the same thing,” he said.
17. He also agreed with the lawyer for the second defendant (PDP), Paul Usoro, SAN, that the plaintiffs had not exhausted the party’s internal mechanism to resolve the issue before bringing the case.
18. “I have already said that the plaintiffs had no locus standi and that their rights were not violated,” he said.
19. Judge Egwuatu further said that the plaintiffs had no reasonable cause of action to bring the case.
20. According to him, the reasonable cause of action consists of all the facts necessary for the commencement of a trial.
21. “I found the defendant’s argument to be strong and I rule against the plaintiffs,” he said.
22. Therefore, the judge dismissed the claim as unfounded.
23. “I am inclined to agree with counsel for the second defendant (PDP).
24. This lawsuit is entirely without merit and has therefore been dismissed,” he said.
25. Shortly after the trial, the lawyer for defendants 3 to 331, Uwemedimo Nwoko, SAN, called the sentencing a positive development in the country’s justice system.
26. According to him, we are particularly impressed because many of the points that have been raised and determined are new and remote, given the fact that we are applying a new electoral law 2022, which has never existed.
27. “There are new provisions in the law that have not been interpreted before in previous cases, which made it difficult for the court to decide in ordinary circumstances.
28. “So what Your Honor has done today is bring many industries into the case and overall it’s a lawsuit that will stand the test of time,” a- he declared.
29. NAN reports that in lawsuit marked 6062022, the plaintiffs want the court to declare null and void the result of the party district congress in Akwa Ibom.
30. This development follows the PDP’s neighborhood congress organized on April 30 to elect three ad hoc delegates who would vote in the party’s primaries.
31. They alleged that the party excluded them from the electoral process, even though they had purchased the expression of interest and nomination forms to participate in the district legislative elections.
32. The petitioners, however, filed a lawsuit, asking the court to overturn the results of the neighborhood convention.
33. They alleged that no election was held to elect ad hoc delegates in the state.
34. The judge on May 18 issued an order directing the parties to maintain the status quo ante bellum pending the hearing and decision on the case.
35. But despite the order, the PPD, between May 22 and 26, held its primaries using said delegates.
36. NAN reports that the petitioners on May 15 accused the PDP of flouting the court order by proceeding with the state’s just-concluded primary elections despite the court order.
37. aggrieved members; Through his lawyer, Ahmed Raji, SAN, told Judge Egwuatu that the defendants had disregarded his May 18 order.
38. Raji therefore pleaded with the court to annul the primary elections held between May 22 and 26, having failed to obey the court order ordering the parties to maintain a status quo ante bellum.
39. But the PDP’s lawyer, Usoro, and the lawyer for defendants 3 to 131, Nwoko, disagreed with Raji’s presentation.
40. They argued that having challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case, any order issued by the court would amount to an exercise in futility.
41. But INEC’s lawyer, Abdulaziz Sani, SAN, for his part declared his neutrality on the matter.
43. NewsSourceCredit: NAN