Federal High Court Nullifies PDP Primary Election Producing Asue Ighodalo as Candidate

Federal High Court Nullifies PDP Primary Election Producing Asue Ighodalo as Candidate

On Thursday, the Federal High Court in Abuja invalidated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election that had resulted in Asue Ighodalo being named the party’s candidate for the upcoming governorship election in Edo State.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, delivering the judgment, stated that the PDP’s primary held on February 22 did not comply with the Electoral Act, 2022, the guidelines for the conduct of the poll, or the party’s constitution. Justice Ekwo noted that Exhibit PDP 1, submitted by the party, lacked sufficient evidence. Conversely, the plaintiffs were able to substantiate their claims against the defendants through their exhibits.

The judge found that the returning officers who compiled the result sheets did not conduct a proper election but instead fabricated the outcome. The exclusion of 381 delegates, including the plaintiffs, was deemed unlawful.

Although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the first defendant, submitted a memorandum of appearance, it did not file any process in the case. The counsel for INEC stated that the commission would abide by the court’s decision.

“I found that the case of the plaintiffs succeeds on merit,” Justice Ekwo declared.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that three aggrieved ad-hoc delegates, representing 378 others, sued INEC, the PDP, its national secretary, and the vice chairman, south-south, listed as the first to fourth defendants.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/165/2024, dated February 7 and filed on February 8, the plaintiffs sought two orders. They requested the court to restrain the defendants or their agents from excluding them and the other delegates from participating in the February 22 primaries in Edo.

The plaintiffs—Hon Kelvin Mohammed, Mr. Gabriel Okoduwa, and Mr. Ederaho Osagie—represented delegates from 12 local government areas and 127 wards. They argued that granting their reliefs would serve the interest of justice.

NAN also reported that the 381 delegates are loyal to Philip Shaibu, the impeached deputy governor.

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