April 13, 2024

Edo 2024: PDP in Fresh Legal Crisis, Guber Candidate Doubtful

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By Correspondent

One of the governorship aspirants that was expected to partake in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP primary, Alhaja Adizetu Umoru, has dragged the party to court over perceived administrative action.

This development has raised fear in the camp of Godwin Obaseki. The governor has been in a running battle for control of the PDP with the Legacy Coalition group of the ruling party.

Alhaja Adizetu Umoru today, February 21, 2024, approached a Federal High Court citing a technical gaffe on the part of the party in the notice for the party primaries.

Sen Anyanwu

The Court documents sent to Midwest Herald revealed that Umoru has approached the High Court in Abuja to set aside the ongoing process to choose a governorship candidate for the party.

Umoru in her application to the court affirmed that the process was inherently defective in the face of the fact that the notice for the Edo gubernatorial primary was issued by Hon (Arc) Setonji Koshoedo who she claimed was removed by a court as acting National Secretary of the PDP in January 2024.

She contends that Koshoedo had on February 1, 2024 issued the “Notice of Gubernatorial Primary Elections in Edo State” despite the fact that a Federal High Court presided over by Honourable Justice I.E. Ekwo had removed him as acting National Secretary and confirmed Senator Samuel Anyanwu as the authentic National Secretary of the PDP on January 9, 2024.

The judgment of Justice Ekwo was delivered on January 9, 2024 well before the notice by Koshoedo was made on February 1, 2024.

Alhaja Umoru in her statement of claim deposed that Koshoedo was not in a position upon the provisions of Section 82(1&5) requiring political parties to give notice to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to so communicate with the commission over issues of PDP congresses.

The INEC, the PDP, Umar Damagun (Acting national chairman of the PDP) Hon (Arc) Setonji Koshoedo, the National Working Committee of the PDP, National Executive Committee of the PDP are the 1st to 6th Defendants respectively in the suit filed before the court by her lawyer Matthew Burka (SAN).

In the court process, Alhaja Umoru averred that the court should among others determine

“Whether having regard to the Provisions of Section 82 (1 & 5) of the Electoral Act, 2022, Article 47(1) of the 2nd Defendant’s Constitution (as amended 2017) and the Judgment of the Federal High Court, Per, Honourable Justice I. E. Ekwo delivered on the 9th of January,2024 in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS1580/2023 between Hon. Geoffrey Ihentuge & Anor Vs. PDP & 4 Ors, the 1st Defendant can give effect or act on the letter titled “Re: Notice of Gubernatorial Primary Elections in Edo State” dated February 01, 2024 issued and/or endorsed by the 3rd and 4th Defendants and which was received by the 1st Defendant on the 2nd February, 2024

Whether having regard to the Provisions of Section 82(1 & 5) of the Electoral Act, 2022, Article 47(1) of the 2nd Defendant’s Constitution (as amended 2017), and the Judgment of the Federal High Court, Per Honourable Justice I.E. Ekwo delivered on the 9th January, 2024 in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS1580/2023 between Hon. Geoffrey Ihentuge & Anor Vs. PDP & 4 Ors, the 4th Defendant – Hon. (Arc) Setonji Koshoedo can lawfully issue and/or endorse any letter of correspondence of the 2nd Defendant as its Secretary or Acting National Secretary

Whether having regard to the Provisions of Section 82(1 & 5) of the Electoral Act, 2022, Article 47(1) of the 2nd Defendant’s Constitution (as amended 2017), and the Judgment of the Federal High Court, Per Honourable Justice I.E. Ekwo delivered on the 9th January, 2024 in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS1580/2023 between Hon. Geoffrey Ihentuge & Anor Vs. PDP & 4 Ors, the 2nd Defendant’s letter titled “Re: Notice of Gubernatorial Primary Elections in Edo State” dated February 01, 2024 issued and endorsed by the 3rd and 4th Defendants and which was received by the 1st Defendant on the 2nd of February, 2024 is not a nullity and therefore vitiates the Ward Congresses held on the 4th day of February, 2024.

Whether upon the proper construction and application of the Provisions of Section 82(1 & 5) of the Electoral Act, 2022, Article 47 (1) of the 2nd Defendant’s Constitution (as amended 2017) and the Court Orders in the Judgment of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Per, Hon. Justice I.E. Ekwo made on the 9th January, 2024 in FHC/ABJ/CS1580/2023 between Hon. Geoffrey Ihentuge & Anor Vs. PDP & 4 Ors, the 2nd Defendant’s Ward Congresses held on the 4th February, 2024 pursuant to that notice is not a nullity and liable to be set aside.

And if the answers to all or any of the above Question is the Affirmative, then the Plaintiff seeks the following Relief:

Among the orders sought by the plaintiff are a declaration that the ward congresses conducted by the PDP are a nullity pursuant to the fact that the notice was invalidly issued.

It specifically asks for an Order setting aside and invalidating any action or steps, including the Ward Congresses conducted by the 2nd to 6th Defendants and/or the 1st Defendant pursuant to or in consequence of the letter titled “Re: Notice of Gubernatorial Primary Elections in Edo State” dated February 01, 2024 issued and/or endorsed by the 3rd and the 4th Defendants.

It will be recalled that, Mr. Obaseki’s faction of PDP had conducted parallel Congresses in the state to select delegates that will elect a governorship candidate in the scheduled primary slated for tomorrow.

Read Also: Court Declares Anyanwu Valid PDP National Secretary

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