Justice J. O. Okeaya-Inneh of the Edo State High Court, Ekpoma, on Tuesday, restrained the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from excluding the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, from participating in the party’s gubernatorial primary slated for Thursday.
The judge, who ruled on a suit brought by one Felix Irioh, declared that the party cannot stop the governor from participating in the governorship primaries.
The defendants in the suit are the PDP in the state, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi, the PDP, Hon. Andy Ikhajiangbe, Peter Akhimien and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Obaseki, who joined the PDP from the All Progressives Congress (APC) last week, was cleared by the party’s screening panel to participate in the primaries.
The PDP also granted the governor and his deputy, Phillip Shuaibu, a waiver to contest the election on its platform.
Incidentally, Obaseki quit the APC after he was barred from the ruling party’s governorship primaries over alleged inconsistencies in his certificates.
The Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, had on Monday restrained Obaseki from taking part in the primaries based on a suit filed by the PDP governorship aspirant, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama.
Ogbedie-Ihama had prayed the court to restrain the governor from participating in the exercise based on grounds that he did not purchase the form within the time stated in the party’s time-table.
But in his suit, Irioh asked that the governor be allowed to contest the primaries because the PDP granted him a waiver to contest the election on its platform.
The judge said: “I find in my humble view 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 1st and 2nd applicants and there is no undue delay in bringing this application. It is in that light that I find merit in this application.
“The applicants sought an Order of Interim Injunction restraining INEC from however refusing to recognize and/or accept the name of any of the aspirants named in paragraph 2 above especially Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki as lawful aspirants having been lawfully screened and cleared by the 2nd Defendant to participate in the 2nd primary election scheduled to hold on the 25th June 2020 in any report of the monitoring of the said primaries pending the hearing of the Motion On Notice.”
The judge adjourned the matter till July 1 for hearing of pending applications.
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