THE People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been restrained by a court from preventing the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki and other aspirants from taking part in the party’s governorship primaries billed for June 25.
A High Court in Ekpoma Judicial Division ruled on Tuesday, that the PDP and INEC or other parties in the suit should not disqualify or restrain Obaseki or other aspirants from the primaries.
The PDP had granted Obaseki a waiver to contest the party primaries, butK a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, and presided over by Justice E.A Obile, on Monday, ruled in a suit filed by an aspirant, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, that Obaseki who defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC), cannot participate in the PDP primary poll of the PDP.
Ogbeide-Ihama claimed in his suit that Obaseki did not purchase a PDP form and didn’t participate in the screening within the time-table schedule.
Joined in the lawsuit were the PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, Emmanuel Ogidi, Kingsley Chinda and Chief Derekeme Boyleyefa, Senator James Manager, Ajibola Muraina, PDP, and INEC.
Accelerated hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction was fixed for Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
The Court, however, fixed hearing on the suit for Wednesday, June 24, 2020, even as it okayed accelerated hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.
However, Tuesday’s judgement by the High Court in Ekpoma Judicial Division, has cleared the way for Obaseki to participate in the primaries.4
Ruling in the suit filed by Felix Irioh and Tom Irehobhude, the Judge, J. O. Okeaya-Inneh, said: “The applicants have satisfied the guidelines for the grant of the orders sought as enjoined in the celebrated landmark case of Kotoye v CBN (1989), 1 NWLR PT. 98, 419 at 441.
“The balance of convenience is in favour of the 1st and 2nd applicants and there is no undue delay in bringing this application. It is in that light that I find merit in this application.”
The defendants in the suit are Dr. Tony Aziegbemi, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Andy Ikhajiangbe, Peter Akhimien and INEC.
The applicants sought “an Order of Interim Injunction restraining INEC from however refusing to recognize and/or accept the name of any of the aspirants named in paragraph 2 above especially Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki as lawful aspirants having been lawfully screened and cleared by the 2nd Defendant to participate in the 2nd primary election scheduled to hold on the 25th June, 2020 in any report of the monitoring of the said primaries pending the hearing of the Motion On Notice.”
The judge adjourned the matter to July 1, 2020, for hearing of pending applications.