Court declines to stop Obaseki from participating in PDP primary
• Another restrains party, INEC from excluding gov, others
• PDP asks CJN to sanction justice Obile as Wike backs out of reconciliation
A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has declined request to stop Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, from participating in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election slated for Thursday, June 25, 2020.
The PDP had granted Obaseki waiver after he defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC).The suit was instituted by one of the PDP governorship aspirants, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who had vowed not to step down for Obaseki.
He insisted that he (Obaseki) just joined the party, insisting that only those who purchased the forms during the stipulated time frame should participate in the primaries.
Like the APC, Ogbeide-Ihama also queried his educational certificates and prayed that the primary be suspended pending hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
However, the judge, E. A. Obile, did not grant the request just as he asked that the motion seeking to stop Obaseki be served on the defendants including him (Obaseki) through newspaper publications.
Besides, the PDP has asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad Tanko to sanction Justice Obile of the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court for assuming wrong jurisdiction on a case.
In a petition, the party also asked that the Chief Judge (CJ) of the Federal High Court should be advised to reassign the suit to another judge of the Federal High Court at the Abuja Division of the Court.
In the petition signed by Dakzel Longii Shamnas, the PDP alleged that Justice Obile did not approach the matter with discretion, thereby playing into the hands of politicians.
Also yesterday, a High Court of Justice in Ekpoma Judicial Division restrained PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and others, from excluding Obaseki or other aspirants who have been cleared for the primary from participating in the exercise.
Ruling on a suit filed by Felix Irioh and Tom Irehobhude, the judge, J. O. Okeaya-Inneh, said, “I find that 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 first and second 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, PDP, Andy Ikhajiangbe, Peter Akhimien and INEC. Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has pulled out of the reconciliation efforts of the Edo State Chapter of PDP, saying it was unfortunate that some members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) were sycophants and tax collectors who would never say the truth. Wike said instead of the NWC to carry everybody along in the Edo matter, they had resorted to using the media to blackmail him.
“I told them that we must handle the Edo issue carefully and carry everybody along. They must respect human beings and not behave like tax collectors and they said because an order was obtained from a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, I was responsible.
“I have had sleepless nights to try and resolve the Edo issue. The governors of Edo, Adamawa and Delta states know what I have done to resolve the issues. As a result of this accusation, I have pulled out of the reconciliation, because my integrity matters to me,” he said.