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Primary Election: Aggrieved Members Accuse Akwa Ibom PDP Of Breaching Court Order

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Some aggrieved members of PDP Akwa Ibom have accused the party of flouting the order of a Federal High Court, Abuja in going ahead with the just-concluded primary elections in the state.

The aggrieved members; Mr Friday Iwok and 31 others, through their lawyer, Ahmed Raji, SAN, told Justice Obiora Egwuatu that his order made on May 18 was disregarded by the defendants.

Raji, therefore, prayed the court to set aside the primary election which was conducted on May 22, having failed to obey the court order which directed parties to maintain a status quo ante bellum.

The applicants had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), PDP and 63 others (elected ad-hoc delegates) before the court as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/606/2022, the plaintiffs want the court to declare the outcome of the ward congress of the party in Akwa Ibom a nullity.

The development followed the PDP’s ward congress organised on April 30 to elect three ad-hoc delegates that would vote in the party primaries.

The applicants, however, filed a suit, asking the court to set aside the results of the ward congress.
They alleged that no election was conducted to choose the ad-hoc delegates in the state.

The judge, on May 18, made an order directing parties to maintain a status quo ante bellum pending the hearing and determination of the matter.
Despite the order, the PDP on Sunday conducted its primaries using the said delegates.

The primaries were conducted to elect its candidates for the 2023 House of Assembly and House of Representatives elections.

At the resumed sitting on Wednesday, counsel to the applicants, Raji, submitted that the defendants had refused to obey the order of the court.
He argued that having disregarded the order, their preliminary objections to challenge the court jurisdiction should be rejected.

He said that when a court makes an order regarding a matter, until that order is set aside, no action is expected to be taken in the contrary.
“We are talking about the majesty of my noble lord not the rights of the parties. So this application is very important.

“The breach of violation has been committed. Otherwise, nobody will take the order of court seriously my lord,” he argued.

But counsel for the PDP, Paul Usoro argued that what the court said on May 18, was “an advice and not an order.”

Usoro insisted the issue of court’s jurisdiction was very fundamental because a court that lacks jurisdiction to hear a matter is incompetent to make pronouncement on same suit.

Uwemedimo Nwoko, SAN, who is lawyer to 3rd defendant, aligned himself with Usoro’s argument, insisting that the court pronouncement that parties should maintain status quo ante bellum was advisory.
Raji disagreed with their submission.

He argued that it was based on the order of court that the defendants filed a motion for stay, wondering whether there is anything called enrol advice.

He described their submission before the court as blowing hot and cold.
He stressed that despite their application for stay, the lawyers claimed the court order was an advice.

“This is a bundle of contradictions. My lord, your order is an order of court not an advice.
“I urge my lord not to be persuaded,” he said.

Besides, Raji argued that the motion brought by the 1st to 3rd defendants was served on them at about 5:41pm on Tuesday (yesterday).

The senior lawyer, who prayed the court for more time to respond to the application, asked the court for an abridgment of time to hear the matter, having earlier ordered accelerated hearing of the suit.

Egwuatu therefore abridged time for parties to file and serve processes and adjourned the matter until June 1 for hearing of the preliminary applications.(NAN)

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