An Abuja High Court will this morning determine the authentic standard-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State between Jibrin Isah and Idris Wada, as it delivers judgment in the suit filed by Isah, praying it to uphold the January primary election, where he emerged as the winner.
When the matter came up on Friday, counsel for Isah, Paul Erokoro, SAN, argued that the plaintiff was nominated as the PDP’s standard-bearer in January 2011 and his name was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which was published by the PDP as a fulfilment of legal requirement.
He further argued that the January primary election was valid, adding that the Electoral Act provided that the primary election should be conducted not later than 60 days before the election and that it could not be more than 60 days as long as it is not below 60 days.
He said that the party did not fulfil the conditions for substitution, as it did not inform the plaintiff that his name would be substituted.
He, therefore, urged the court to uphold the January primary election.
Opposing the application, counsel for the PDP, Chief Olusola Oke, submitted that a Federal High Court had earlier nullified the January election which saw Isah emerge as the winner, adding that in the eyes of the law, there was no valid election.
He said that the plaintiff participated in the primary election because he went through nomination and screening and, therefore, could not challenge the primary.
He also argued that INEC had released another election timetable which is different from the one used in January.
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the application.
Counsel for the second defendant, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), argued that the application constituted an abuse of court process, as another issue by the plaintiff is pending at the Federal High Court.
He added that governorship election in Kogi State was not postponed, rather it was aborted and a new date fixed, which means that the April election had no validity in the eyes of the law.
Earlier, the defendants had brought a preliminary objection challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.
They argued that the primary election was held in Kogi and, as such, any litigation should also be heard in Kogi.
Meanwhile, scores of protesters from the Bayelsa State chapter of the PDP, on Sunday stormed the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, armed with various placards, protesting the outcome of the screening of the governorship aspirants in the next election in the state.
While some of the placards commended the clearance of the state governor, Timipre Sylva, for the race and expressed their total support for his candidature, others condemned the clearance with severe allegations against him, lamenting that it would be another four years of slavery for the people of the state under Governor Sylva.
This is coming just as Governor Sylva, along with two other aspirants earlier disqualified from the race by the screening panel, Mr Timi Alaibe and Mr Boluobo Oruba, appeared before the party’s appeal panel, headed by former deputy governor of Ekiti State, Chief (Mrs) Abiodun Olujimi, behind closed doors, for several hours.
Emerging from the panel, Governor Sylva, who had earlier been cleared by the screening panel, told newsmen that he was at the national secretariat of the party “on the invitation of the party.”
According to him, “as a loyal and responsible party man, I’ll always obey the call of my party.”
On whether his invitation was based on grave petitions against him, Governor Sylva said that he was not aware of any petition and that he answered all the questions put to him by the panel.
He expressed optimism that he would not only win the party’s ticket, he would also win the governorship race based on the support of the generality of the people of the state.
However, both Alaibe and Oruba declined comments when approached by newsmen just as the panel was still sitting at press time.
Scores of officers and men of the mobile police force and men of the anti-bomb disposal squad of the Nigeria police were drafted to the party’s national secretariat to avert crisis.
In another development, the arrowhead of the plan by elders of Bayelsa State PDP to replace Governor Timipre Sylva in Government House, Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, said in Abuja, on Sunday, that the plan would go full swing from November 5.
In a statement by the Director-General of his campaign, Honourable Fred Agbedi, “Restoration Campaign” is aimed at redressing the stream of failures in the governance of the state.
The statement read in part: “As you all know, the expectations of the people of the state have been completely shattered, owing to the woeful and dismal performance of the present administration.
“Several families have lost young and dear ones, their businesses and means of sustainable livelihood destroyed, the educational dreams of our young ones truncated our common wealth squandered, our collective psyche truncated and our future mortgaged. There has been consistent and reckless abuse of power without corresponding sense of honour, responsibility and compassion in the present administration.
“Bayelsans need someone who has a unique understanding of the issues and priorities of the people; one who will rally support for the development and restore the honour and dignity of the state and the Ijaw nation…(read more)