26th May, 2022
The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognizing or accepting ad hoc delegates produced by Gov. Godwin Obaseki’s faction of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo.
Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order while delivering judgment in a suit instituted by 581 delegates elected on April 30.
They filed the suit against the PDP, Mr Iyorchia Ayu, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu, Mr Umar Bature and INEC as 1st to 5th defendants.
The judge said that it was the ad hoc delegates produced by Mr. Dan Orbih’s faction of the party that was authentic and must be recognized.
Justice Ekwo held that PDP and other defendants in the suit were bound by Section 84 (5) of the Electoral Act 2022 as well as Section 15 of the PDP Constitution relating to delegates’ elections.
The judge agreed with the plaintiffs that they were validly and legally elected as authentic ad hoc delegates for Edo chapter of the PDP.
The court said that the role of INEC in primary elections, congress and convention monitoring was statutory and constitutional and must be strictly adhered to by all political parties.
The court also said that going against the election of the plaintiffs would amount to a violation of laws that were not ambiguous.
The judge gave an order of injunction against the 1st to 4th defendants restraining them from tampering with the plaintiffs’ list having been duly elected in the congress of the party held on April 30.
The court also issued an order of perpetual injunctions against the 1st to 4th defendants stopping them from conducting any other congress with the purpose of replacing the plaintiffs.
The court further issued a mandatory order of injunction against INEC stopping it from recognizing or accepting any delegates list other than the one produced by PDP’S Congress of April 30 where the plaintiffs emerged as ad hoc delegates.
The 581 delegates instituted the suit marked FHC/Abj/ CS/598/2022 through their five representatives, Mr Monday Osagie, Mr Reuben Ekhosuehi, Mr Adeyanba Osaro, Mrs Magdalene Osawe and Mr Imariabe Oghogho.
The plaintiffs, in the suit argued by Mr. John Musa, SAN, asked the court to determine whether PDP in view of Section 84 (5) of the Electoral Act 2022 and Section 15 of the PDP constitution could jettison their election monitored by INEC for another one conducted in violation of the provisions of relevant laws.
They also asked the court to determine whether the defendants could on their own, jettison the authentic delegates for others whose purported election was unknown to any law.
The plaintiffs were elected from 18 local government areas of the state for the purpose of electing national delegates for the house of assembly, house of representatives, and senatorial elections.