14th September, 2012
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
Peoples Democratic Party chieftain in Akwa Ibom state, Engr. Frank Okon, who had been seeking to invalidate the emergence of Governor Godswill Akpabio as the party’s candidate at the last gubernatorial election primaries and his subsequent victory at the governorship election in Akwa Ibom state, suffered a set back on Friday as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja dismissed his suit.
Engr. Okon had challenged the conduct and outcome of the January 15th, 2011 re-run primary election conducted by the PDP in which its declared Akpabio winner, on the ground that he was not given the mandatory seven days notice ahead of the re-run primary election by the PDP.
The court presided by Justice Abdu Kafarati held that the Engr Okon lacks the legal capacity to challenge the primary election having not participated in the re-run primary election.
Relying on the provision of section 87(7) of the Electoral Act, the court held that an aspirant is someone who contested a primary election conducted by a political party for the purpose of nominating a candidate and noted that Okon who did not participate in the January 15th, 2011 primary election conducted by the PDP, has no locus to challenge same.
“It is clear that the plaintiff was not a candidate or aspirant in the re-run primary election conducted on 15th January, 2011 by the PDP, the case of Timipre Sylva vs the PDP as decided by the supreme court in 2012 had settled the issue. The main complaint of the applicant were not against the conduct of the primary election, but on the actions preceding the conduct of the election, which this court has no jurisdiction to entertain because they are internal affairs and domestic rights of the PDP” the court held.
The court went on to dismiss the case for lacking in merit and want of jurisdiction and awarded the sum of N50,000 and N100,000 each in favour of PDP and Governor Akpabio respectively against Engr Okon as legal cost.