A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Monday struck out the suit challenging the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries of the January 12, 2011 which produced Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State.
The court presided over by Justice Adamu Bello held that the plaintiff, Chief Alexander Chukwuemeka Obiechina, did not participate in the said primaries thereby lacks the legal right to challenge the election.
“From the plaintiff’s own showing, it is obvious that he did not participate in the primaries of January 12, 2011, it also follows that the plaintiff would have no cause of action, as the cause of action belongs to those who participated in the election,” he added. He said Obiechina by his own admission, did not participate in the primaries under question and as such, removed his case under section 87 (9) of the Electoral Act 2011.
He also held that the court has no jurisdiction to decide on two primaries of a political party, as it said only the party can decide a valid primaries.
Justice Bello said the issue had been decided by the Supreme Court in the case of Garuba Lado vs CPC delivered on December 16, 2011. “Just as it is in Lado’s case, so it is in this case,” he held.
Ruling on the question of the court's jurisdiction over the matter, Bello said the Federal High Court under section 281 (99) of the 1999 constitution can adjudicate over matters involving an agency of the Federal Government. He however said the PDP was not an agency of the Federal Government but a political party.
“The PDP is not an agency of the Federal Government, it is a political party, notwithstanding the involvement of INEC,” he said.
Obiechina had accused that Chime conducted a jamboree primaries with his Commissioners and town’s men on January 12, 2011 and paraded himself as the candidate of the PDP for the April 2011 poll.
Meanwhile, Chime through his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Chukwudi Achife, said the judgment was a triumph of democracy in action.
Also, the state chapter of PDP in a solidarity message to the governor and signed by its chairman, Chief Vita Abba, congratulated “supporters and teeming members of the party in the state for their prayers and unshakable confidence in the Party and its State Government while the case lasted in the court.”
“We view today’s landmark judgment as a victory for democracy and all those who believe strongly in the good work of our dynamic Governor, His Excellency Sullivan Iheanacho Chime in Enugu State. It is also another set of blessing from the late Mother of our governor, Chief Mrs. Theresa Ekpeluchi Chime whom we cherished so much and accorded a well deserved last respect few days ago.
“We wish to re-assure all our members and the general public that the Party and its Government will in spite of all the distractions, continue to ensure the enthronement of good governance, peace and rapid transformation in our dear State for our people to enjoy the real taste of democracy,” Abbah said.
Reacting to the judgment, lawyer and PDP supporter of Obiechina, Mr. Friday Odo, said he believed there was perversion of justice.
“It is a miscarriage of justice because Obiechina duely bought and completed forms. The judgment is ridiculous and cannot stand superior reasoning. It is tragic but we are proceeding on appeal,” he said.