By Deborah Onyofufeke
The Court of Appeal on Monday, upturned the judgement of Justice Inyang Ekwo, of the Federal High Court Abuja, on the Edo state People’s Democratic Party, PDP, delegates congress that upheld the congress that was conducted by the pro Chief Dan Osi Orbih’s faction.
Today, July 25, 2022, the Court of Appeal Abuja, held that the ad hoc delegates election of the Edo PDP remains part of the domestic affairs of the party for which the court cannot interfere under pre-election litigation.
He submitted that the trial judge erred in his judgment.
The Court in upholding the appeal in favour of the Appellants said;
“We cannot go against our earlier decisions in Kano and Edo State”.
Recall that Justice Ekwo made an order restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognizing or accepting the list of ad-hoc delegates produced by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led faction of PDP for Edo State.
Ekwo declared the ad-hoc delegates produced by the Dan Orbih faction of the party as the authentic delegates that must be recognized and accepted.
The judge made the declaration while delivering judgement in a suit instituted by 581 delegates elected on April 30.
Ekwo, in the judgement, held that PDP and other defendants in the suit were bound by Section 84 (5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 as well as Section 15 of the PDP constitution relating to delegates elections.
The 581 delegates instituted the suit marked FHC/Abj/ CS/598/2022 through their five representatives – Hon. Monday Osagie, Hon. Reuben Ekhosuehi, Hon. Adeyanba Osaro, Hon. Magdalene Osawe, and Hon. Imariabe Oghogho.
Meanwhile, PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, Umar Bature, and INEC were listed as 1st to 5th defendants, respectively in the suit
The reliefs sought by the plaintiffs in the suit, argued by Dr. John Musa, included a determination whether the PDP in view of Section 84 (5) of the Electoral Act, 2022, and Section 15 of the PDP constitution could jettison their election monitored by INEC for another one conducted in violation of the provisions of the relevant laws.
Another dispute for which they sought determination was whether the defendants could on their own jettison the authentic delegates for others whose purported election was unknown to any law.
In his judgement, Ekwo, after going through the documentary evidence presented to the court, including the report of INEC on its monitoring of the April 30 delegates election, agreed with the plaintiffs that they were validly and legally elected as authentic ad-hoc delegates for Edo State chapter of the PDP.