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Court refuses to stop Rivers PDP guber primary

By Guardian Nigeria
26 May 2022   |   2:26 am
The Federal High Court, Abuja, has refused to grant an ex parte application by Mr. Farah Dagogo to stop the gubernatorial primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State.

Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has refused to grant an ex parte application by Mr. Farah Dagogo to stop the gubernatorial primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State.

Dagogo, a member of the House of Representatives from Rivers, approached the court through an ex parte application filed and argued by his lawyer, Mr. Selekeowey Larry (SAN).

He asked the court to stop the primary, pending the determination of the substantive suit challenging his exclusion from the screening that would make him eligible to participate in the primary.

The suit was instituted against the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC). In his ruling, yesterday, Justice Taiwo Taiwo held that after perusing the ex parte application, it was his view that the application had no merit.

“It is my well-considered view that this application ought to fail and same is dismissed.

“I can see that the applicant filed his originating summons on May 12, and the ex parte application on May 18. Why did the applicant fail to file the ex parte application together with the originating summons? Why did the applicant wait for six days before filing the application, as he is no doubt aware of the guidelines of the PDP for the conduct of primary elections,” he said.

The judge also said that the balance of convenience was not in favour of the applicant, as it would be an inconvenience to the respondents for the court to grant the application.

According to him, the applicant did not participate in the screening, which is a condition for taking part in the primary election.
He dismissed the suit and fixed June 7 for hearing of the substantive matter.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dagogo had prayed the court for an order of interim injunction restraining the PDP from conducting its governorship primaries in Rivers. He also asked the court to stop the party from parading and or using any list of aspirants for the purpose of conducting the gubernatorial primary election for Rivers on May 26.

Other prayers of his include restraining INEC from accepting any candidate, who might emerge from the Rivers PDP gubernatorial primary, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

In an affidavit in support of the suit, Dagogo alleged that the PDP connived with the Rivers governor and prevented him from participating in the screening.

Responding for the PDP, Ken Njemanze (SAN) argued that Dagogo was not an aspirant, having not been screened to contest the primaries.

Njemanze held that based on the grounds that Dagogo was not an aspirant of the party, he lacked the competence to evoke the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter as constituted.