A Federal High Court sitting in Enugu has fixed February 15 for judgement in the suit seeking the disqualification of all the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidates in Enugu State from taking part in the 2023 elections.
The case was instituted by the Enugu North Senatorial district candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chika Idoko.
In the suit No: FHC/EN/CS/217/2022, Idoko had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP, and all its candidates in Enugu State to the court.
He is claiming that the PDP primary election was in contravention of Section 77 of the Electoral Act and should thus be voided, adding that the party should be punished in line with extant provisions of the Section 84 of the same Act.
His argument is that the party submitted its membership register to INEC on May 6, 2022, less than 30 days to its primary election, contrary to the provisions of the law.
Our correspondent reports that legal fireworks resumed on Thursday, with all the parties adopting their process, including preliminary objections and addresses for the substantive suit.
Counsel to the applicant, Barr. T. Ekpenyong told the Court that the case of his client, (Idoko) pertains to the interpretation of Section 77 of the Electoral Act.
He said a letter from the first defendant, which was admitted in evidence, showed that the PDP submitted the register in contravention of the Electoral Act.
The plaintiff’s counsel also cited some cases to support his assertion that his client had the locus to file the suit.
“We ask that the preliminary objection of the defendants be discountenanced,” Ekpenyong prayed the court.
The defendants, including the PDP, its guber candidate, Barr. Peter Mbah, National and State Assembly candidates were represented by Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, Anthony Ani, (SAN), Justina Offia (Mrs.) SAN, Barr. Ogochukwu Onyekwuluje.
With the exception of the first defendants, INEC, all the other defendants filed preliminary objections.
They argued that Idoko being a member of the ADC lacked the locus standi to file the matter, adding that it was also statute-barred, as according to them it was filed out of time.
The defendants told the court that whereas the course of action arose on May 6, the plaintiff waited till September to file the court action.
While making its submissions to have the main suit struck-out, the PDP said it submitted the soft copy of its register to the INEC in March, 2022, adding that what it submitted in May was a hard copy to ease the job of the commission.
They urged the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
After listening to their arguments, the Judge, Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo adjourned the suit to February 15 for ruling on the preliminary objection and judgement on the substantive suit.
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