Court Invalidates Edo PDP Governorship Primary

In a significant ruling on Thursday, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, declared invalid the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship primary election held on February 22, 2024, which had resulted in the nomination of Asue Ighodalo as the party’s candidate. The judgment came in response to a lawsuit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/165/2024, filed by aggrieved delegates led by Kelvin Mohammed in a representative capacity.

The court’s decision stemmed from findings that the PDP had unlawfully excluded 378 delegates who were eligible to vote, a violation of electoral laws and the party’s guidelines. Justice Ekwo emphasized that the conduct of the primary election at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City was marred by significant breaches of the Electoral Act 2022, PDP guidelines, and the party’s constitution.

According to the judge, evidence presented during the proceedings, particularly Exhibit 1, indicated manipulation of result sheets by the returning officers. The plaintiffs successfully demonstrated their case against the defendants through compelling exhibits tendered in court.

Regarding the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the judge noted that while INEC appeared in the suit and pledged to abide by the court’s decision, it did not file additional processes. Justice Ekwo concluded that the plaintiffs’ arguments were upheld, leading to the court ruling in their favor.

The lawsuit had been filed by 378 ad-hoc delegates aligned with impeached Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, naming INEC, PDP, its National Secretary, and the Vice Chairman South-South as defendants. The plaintiffs sought legal intervention to prevent their exclusion from participating in the primaries, citing violations of due process and seeking remedies in the interest of justice.

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