Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, declared invalid the Peoples Democratic Party’s primary election held on February 22, 2024, which produced Asue Ighodalo as its governorship candidate.

Justice Ekwo made this declaration while delivering judgment in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/165/2024, brought by aggrieved delegates, notably Kelvin Mohammed, in a representative capacity.

The judge voided the primaries on the grounds that 378 delegates, who were supposed to vote, were unlawfully excluded by the PDP, contrary to the provisions of the law.

The court found gross violations of the Electoral Act 2022, PDP guidelines, and the party’s constitution in the conduct of the primary election held at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin.

According to the judge, the evidence presented by the PDP (Exhibit 1) was insufficient and lacked proof, indicating that the returning officers manipulated the result sheets.

Justice Ekwo emphasised that the plaintiffs successfully established their case against the defendants through the exhibits tendered.

Regarding the Independent National Electoral Commission, the first defendant in the suit, the judge noted that while INEC filed a memorandum of appearance, it did not submit any further processes in the case.

He stated that INEC’s counsel declared they would abide by the court’s decision and upheld the plaintiffs’ arguments.

“I find that the plaintiffs’ case succeeds on its merits,” Justice Ekwo concluded.

It is worth noting that the 378 ad-hoc delegates, loyal to the impeached Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, sued INEC, PDP, its National Secretary, and the Vice Chairman South-South as the first to fourth defendants.

In the suit dated February 7 but filed February 8, the plaintiffs sought two orders, “An order for the defendants or their agents not to act but to show cause why the reliefs of the plaintiffs in their originating summons should not be granted about the plan of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to exclude them and 378 other delegates, whose names and election results are contained in “Exhibits BID 8A to 8L,” from participating in the primaries of Feb. 22 in Edo.”

The plaintiffs, which include Kelvin Mohammed, Mr Gabriel Okoduwa, and Mr Ederaho Osagie, on behalf of others in 12 local government areas and 127 wards, averred that it would be in the interest of justice for their reliefs to be granted.


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