From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, sitting in Zubwa, Abuja, has barred the Imo State branch of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from using the artificial outcome of the delegate election results ad hoc of 3 men for the State which did not take place during the election of the candidates.
Justice Bello Kawu granted the conservative order after hearing an exparte motion filed by Ms. Chidinma Nancy Uzomba, an aspirant authorized by the PDP to challenge the election of the federal constituency of Ideato.
She addressed the court following the alleged theft of the result sheets of the two local government areas by Chief of Staff of PDP National Secretary Sam Anyanwu and the failure to conduct statewide delegate elections. and the controversy over a list pushed by the National Party Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu as delegates for the election.
In lawsuit no.: FCT/HC/BW/CV/1450/2022, plaintiff named the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants.
The motion was accompanied by an emergency affidavit filed by Maliki Sylvanus of Chief Mike Ozekhome’s (SAN) law firm.
Judge Kawu, after listening to the submissions of plaintiff’s attorney, Daniel Edachi further prevented the People’s Democratic Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC from recognizing any results emanating from the election of 3 ad hoc delegates in the Imo State and/or including any person(s) purportedly elected in said 3 ad hoc delegate election held on April 30, 2022 or any other date of voting or participation in the election of PDP candidates for elective positions in the party’s next primary election pending hearing and decision on the notice petition.
The judge also issued an order preventing the PDP from authorizing, recognizing, or giving effect to any purported delegates from the stolen and/or missing Ideato North and Ideato South local government area score sheets. election of the PDP in the two local government areas for the purpose of electing candidates for the 2023 general elections pending the hearing and decision of the notice petition.
The order further prevents INEC from accepting from the PDP any list of candidates from Imo State who emerge from any primary election held with the list of unsuccessful delegates list.
By this decision, the Court barred the PDP from proceeding with any further 3-man ad hoc delegate elections and therefore only leaves the party the option of conducting its primaries in the state with only the list of statutory delegates.
Lawyers who hailed the ruling as the end of impunity in party politics said all 27 candidates for the House of Assembly, 10 for the House of Representatives and 3 Party senators risked disqualification and excluded from the election and that the PDP was not strictly obeying the court’s orders, because that was the fate that befell the APC in Rivers State, leading to the Supreme Court excluding all its candidates from participating in the 2019 general election for failing to obey a court order.
In addition, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, House of Representatives aspirant for Ideato’s North and South federal constituencies and spokesperson for the opposition coalition, described the judgment as a victory for the rule of law and a second chance for the PDP to save itself from technical exclusion.
The judge also granted an expedited hearing in the lawsuit, ordered a reduction in the time for the parties to file their cases and adjourned the case to May 13, 2022 for hearing.