An Abia State High Court sitting in Aba has reversed itself in its earlier order which recognised the three-man Ad hoc delegates list that produced a former Abia State University Vice-Chancellor, Prof Uche Ikonne, as the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate on May 25, 2022.
This followed a suit filed by one Akuoma Friday, on May 16, 2022, where the court was urged to vacate its order.
The court, presided over by Justice C.U. Okoroafor, said it erred in law to have granted such an order ab initio, stating that the new National Judicial Council guideline had stripped her of the jurisdiction to entertain such matter.
Ikonne, believed to be Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s anointed candidate emerged after the court had issued an order on May 17, 2022, stating that only the 3-man Adhoc delegates list should be used for the purpose of electing the party’s governorship candidate.
The pre-convention order read in part, “The PDP, PDP Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu; PDP Abia State Chairman, Allwell Okere, PDP national organising Secretary, and Independent National Electoral Commission (1st to 5th defendants), their agents, privies, and employees howsoever described are hereby restrained in the interim from using, adopting or relying on any other list apart from the three-man Ad hoc list annexed herein as Exhibit ‘D’ as that has the name of the Claimant based on the Ad hoc election congresses or election of the 1st defendant (PDP) held on 6th May 2022 pending hearing and determination of the motion of notice.”
The court had also barred INEC from “recognising and monitoring any primaries by the 1st defendant (PDP) sought to be conducted with any other delegates list from the 1st defendant (PDP) other than the three-man Ad hoc delegates list annexed hereto as Exhibit ‘D’ which contains the name of the Applicant as one of the three-man Adhoc delegates congresses or election held in Abia State on 6th May 2022 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”
But in a ruling on Wednesday, the court granted the prayer of Akuoma Friday and vacated its order.
The NJC, in a bid to limit the multiplicity of political matters involving INEC, had on May 11, 2022, stated that “All suits to which these Policy Directions apply shall be filed, received, or entertained only at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in so far as the relief sought, or potential consequential order (s) or declaration (s) may restrain or compel persons or actions beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any one State.”
Source: The Punch