- Category: Politics
- Published on Thursday, 17 November 2011 05:52
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Court stops Bayelsa PDP primary
The federal High Court has stopped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from going ahead with Saturday’s governorship primary election in Bayelsa State.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole granted the order, following an exparte application filed on Sylva’s behalf by Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN).
He gave the defendant 72 hours to show cause why all the releifs sought by Sylva should not be granted and adjourned the matter till November 22 for hearing.
The defendants are the PDP, its acting national chairman, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court held that the era when political parties manipulate processes leading to the emergence of candidates are over, based on the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
Justice Kolawole said: “When I looked at the totality of the facts in the substantive Originating Summons and when these are considered vis-à-vis the extant provisions of the Electoral Act as Amended, my view is that the Court will not in any way be handicapped, even if the exparte orders, in particular, prayers 1 – 3 are not granted because the court retains the power to direct the 1st Defendant (INEC).’
Justice Kolawole said in terms of political parties’ candidates who may have been unlawfully excluded either from the parties’ primaries or from the elections to accept and act on the name(s) of such candidates as the authentic candidates sanctioned and approved by the court.
“The new Electoral Act as Amended is a clear departure from the 1983 Act by which on the authority of the Supreme Court’s decision in Onuoha V. Okafor, the political parties were “god unto themselves” in terms of the choice of candidates. This court had intervened in quite a number of political parties’ cases when candidates were being manipulated by the leadership of the political parties.
“It is in this regard that I really do not see the Plaintiff being exposed in the long run to such injury, loss or damage that may, applying the Supreme Court’s decision in Kotoye V. CBN, supra be described as ‘irreparable or irretrievable’. Whatever be the case, I have no doubt that this court has the judicial powers to make appropriate orders as the justice of the case will require.
“Let me state, for the avoidance of doubt, that in relation to prayers 1 – 3 of the Motion Exparte, the Plaintiff has made out a strong case which ordinarily should enable this court to grant the said prayers. But in the light of the analysis I have done as regards the statutory powers which the court has pursuant to Electoral Act, 2010 as amended, the 2nd Defendant [PDP] does not, in the long run, have the final say because the court can always make appropriate orders as the justice of the case will require to redress any wrong that may be occasioned by my judicial hesitation in granting the said prayers 1-3 on the motion exparte.”
Sylva, who is seeking re-election, has been excluded from the primary by the party. He is bitter that the party is planning to dump him after winning the January 12 primary before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the governorship election.
The INEC action was based on an order of an Abuja High Court which declared that the tenure of five governors continue beyond May 29 because they won re-run elections. The verdict was upheld by the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
The governor is contending that his candidacy subsists as nobody petitioned against his success at the said primary election to the screening appeal panel or any other body or committee of the 2nd defendant.
Lagos lawyer Femi Falana on Tuesday wrote a letter to INEC, asking it to stop the planned primary because Sylva won the January primary.
Besides, he said the PDP made him to pay another N5.5 million for the scheduled fresh primary election which the party has barred him from participating in.
In the motion on notice, Sylva is, among others praying the court for “an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, privies, officers or otherwise and/or any other person howsoever described from conducting, organising, or holding any meeting or ward congress and from embarking on any activities leading to the holding of any fresh gubernatorial primary election for Bayelsa State on the 19th November, 2011 or on any other day, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Besides, he urged the court to stop the party from nominating another candidate for the election and accelerate the hearing of the substantive suit.
PDP insists on Bayelsa primary
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has vowed to go ahead with Saturday’s Bayelsa State governorship primary election in spite of a court order restraining the party.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali said the party has not been served the court order, which he described as a rumour that “exists only in the fertile imagination of mischief makers who are bent on undermining the unity and cohesion of the PDP in Bayelsa State.
“We shall however not surrender ourselves to rumours being orchestrated by undisciplined persons who have no regard for group ethics and Party discipline”, he said in a statement.
The party urged PDP members in Bayelsa to continue with preparations for the primaries where a candidate is expected to emerge for the governorship election billed for February 11, 2012.
“The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party therefore wishes to inform all party members, particularly all aspirants and stakeholders in Bayelsa State that the primaries to select the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP for Bayelsa State shall hold as earlier scheduled on the 19th of November 2011,” the statement added.
The seven aspirants cleared to take part in the primaries yesterday received their clearance certificates at the national secretariat. The certificates were handed to them by National Organising Secretary Prince Uche Secondus.
Secondus enjoined the aspirants to play to the rules. He charged them to ensure that the exercise is violence-free, saying that being the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan, the aspirants and their supporters must set a good example.
The cleared aspirants are: Orufa Justine Bolubo, Henry Seriake Dickson, Enai Christopher Fullpower, Katango Michael Youppele, Francis Amaebi, Ekiyeghe Francis Korobido and Austin Febo. (The Nation)