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Bayelsa Governorship: Alaibe prays court to set aside Diri’s nomination

By Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt and Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
15 September 2019   |   4:07 am
A suit has been filed at the Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, seeking to set aside submission of Senator Douye Diri’s name to Independent National Electoral Commission...

Diri Douye

• PDP Faults Alaibe, Says Party Will Take Appropriate Action
A suit has been filed at the Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, seeking to set aside submission of Senator Douye Diri’s name to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as its governorship candidate for the November election.

The suit was filed by Mr. Timi Alaibe, who felt he was robbed of victory at the governorship primary election through flawed electoral processes. Hence, he is demanding cancellation of the primary election based on procedural flaws.

Defendants in the suit no: FHC/YNG/CS/99/2019, are the PDP, Senator Diri, the INEC, and Embeleakpo Alale for himself and representing the elected local government chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors of the PDP allowed to be delegates at the PDP’s elective state congress in Bayelsa State held on September 3, 2019. Others include Doubra Kumokou, for himself and on behalf of the three ad-hoc delegates at the congress.

Alaibe’s suit is in pursuant to Order 3(9) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019. It seeks answers to questions bordering on obvious non-adherence to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act 2010, the PDP constitution and election guidelines, by the party’s state chapter in the conduct of ward congresses, inclusion of local council officials in the delegates’ list and the procedure for inclusion of three ad-hoc delegates.

Citing specific sections of relevant laws and guidelines, Alaibe asked the court to examine the entire processes that resulted in the primary and rule in his favour in the light of violations committed in a desperate move to impose a pre-determined hand-picked candidate on the people out of 21 aspirants.

The former Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, who came second during the contentious PDP governorship primary, wants the court to determine whether the pre-election actions and inactions of the defendants satisfy conditions specified in relevant sections of Nigeria’s Constitution, the Electoral Act and certain sections of the PDP Constitution.

Alaibe also prayed that the entire processes be declared unconstitutional and the declaration of Senator Diri as the winner be declared invalid, having failed to comply with relevant sections of the laws governing such processes.

In addition, he wants the court to order the conduct of fresh primary elections for the nomination and sponsorship of the candidate for the governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Before the primary, the Alaibe Campaign Organisation had raised objections against what it described as crass disrespect for legal procedures and party guidelines in the build-up to the conduct of the governorship primary election by the state chapter of the PDP.

Alaibe had also protested against inclusion of the newly elected council chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors in the delegates’ list, contrary to the provisions of the PDP Constitution; the manner in which electoral and returning officers were picked to favour aspirants endorsed by the already-biased party leadership; the manner in which the 315 ad-hoc delegates were directed to vote contrary to already established judicial precedents; among other issues.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted Alaibe’s action and has promised to resolve the matter in-house.

A notable member of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) claimed that Alaibe failed to exhaust the party’s internal conflict resolution mechanisms before resorting to court action.

According to the source, Alaibe equally failed to appeal the outcome of the primary. He ruled out any sanction but promised party would look into the matter.

He said: “The PDP has sufficient internal conflict resolution mechanisms that any aggrieved member could satisfactorily exploit. After the primary election in Bayelsa, an appeal panel headed by the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus and other members of the National Working Committee NWC) was set up. The panel did not receive any petition from Alaibe, even as it extended sitting for a few more days. I think it is not good for any loyal member to ignore the party and go straight to Court. “