PDP appeals judgment nullifying Edo gov primary

The Peoples Democratic Party, on Wednesday, approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the judgment of the Federal High Court nullifying its February 22 governorship primary in Edo State, which produced Asue Igbodalo as the party’s flag-bearer for the September 21 governorship election.

The appellant, in an appeal hinged on 25 grounds, asked the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the lower court delivered on July 4, 2024.

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had declared the PDP primary election held on February 22 in Edo State as invalid.

He held that the party did not comply with the relevant provisions of its constitution or the electoral guidelines for primary elections when it excluded 378 elected ward delegates from participating in the exercise

The trial judge held that this act itself was against the provision of Article 50(3) of the party’s constitution and further declared that it was a legal requirement that political parties must obey their constitution, guidelines, and regulations.

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“The failure to comply with the electoral guidelines is not different from the effect of non-compliance with the constitution of the political party or noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.

“The decision of the second defendant (PDP) not to include the plaintiffs in the governorship primary for which they were elected at the ward congress was arbitrarily wrong.

“Ward congresses are to be held in accordance with the law, the party’s constitution, and electoral guidelines.

“After being held, they cannot be cancelled except in the manner provided in the Electoral Act 2022, the party’s constitution, and electoral guidelines,” Ekwo ruled

He then ordered, “An order is hereby made directing the defendants, who are bound by the provisions of Section 82 of the Electoral Act 2022 and Article 50(3) of the second defendant’s constitution (as amended in 2017), to abide by the outcome of the three ad-hoc delegates ward congress of February 4, 2024, at which the plaintiffs and the other 378 delegates, whose names and election results appear on Exhibits BID 8A to 8L, were elected, and to allow the plaintiffs and the 375 other lawfully elected delegates to participate in the primary election of February 22, 2024.

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“An order of mandatory injunction is hereby made restraining the first, second, and third defendants from unlawfully excluding the plaintiffs and the other lawfully elected delegates whose names and election results appear on Exhibits BID 8A to 8L herein from participating as 3 ad-hoc ward delegates in the governorship election primaries of the second defendant slated for the 22nd of February 2024 or any other date.”

The PDP, in the appeal dated July 9, marked CA/ABJ/CV/2024 and filed through their lawyer Adeyemi Ajibade (SAN), argued that the decision of the trial court was against the weight of evidence.

The respondents in the appeal are Kelvin Mohammed, Gabriel Okoduwa, Ederaho Osagie (for themselves and on behalf of the 378 ad hoc delegates), the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Secretary of the PDP, and the Vice Chairman, PDP South-South, as first to sixth respondents respectively.

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The appellant said, “The lower court erred in law when it granted reliefs 2, 3, and 4 sought by the first to third respondents.”

It further contended that there was no basis for the trial court to have arrived at its decision.

The PDP said on February 4, it conducted a three-man ad hoc ward congress across the 18 Local Government Areas in Edo State and the first to third respondents did not participate and were not among the persons who emerged as elected delegates.

The party said its candidate, Ighodalo, was duly elected by the ad hoc delegates who participated in its primary election.

On these grounds, the party sought “an order allowing the appeal, an order setting aside the judgment of the lower court, and an order striking out or dismissing the entire suit for want of jurisdiction.”

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