Politics

Court dismisses suit seeking to nullify Rivers PDP primaries

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking to nullify the outcome of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Rivers State gubernatorial primary held on May 26, 2022.

The trial judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo also declined to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from accepting the winner of the primary.
He held that Dagogo had no locus standi to file the suit.

The primary was won by the immediate past Accountant General of Rivers State, Siminaliayi Fubara. The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/, was filed by a PDP guber aspirant Doctor Farah Dagogo as plaintiff, joining the PDP and INEC as first and second defendants.

Dagogo is a “serving member of the lower chamber of the National Assembly representing Degemma/Bonny Federal constituency of Rivers State.” The lawmaker, in his originating summons of May 12, averred that he purchased the PDP Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms for the gubernatorial primary, completed and returned same to the 1st Defendant with all the relevant accompanying documents.

He claimed that he presented himself for screening on April 28 2022, “only to be whisked away by security agents at the order of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, with the active connivance of members of the Screening Panel/Committee”. He contended that the PDP, by failing to screen him to contest the governorship primary had violated his right contrary to section 84(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, sections 36, 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution. It had also, he claimed, violated Part V, Clause 2 (c) & (d) of the PDP Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections made pursuant to the PDP Constitution by the 1st Defendant.”

However, PDP filed a motion on notice dated May 24, 2022, praying for an order striking out the suit on the ground, according to it, that the court lacks the competence and jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

On June 17, 2022, when the matter came up for adoption of processes, S. Larry SAN represented Dagogo, while K. C. O Njemanze SAN represented the 1st defendant, following which the court adjourned for judgment.

In his judgment, the court upheld the PDP’s application. Justice Taiwo held that the grouse of the plaintiff cannot be met or decided by this court for lack of locus standi on the part of the plaintiff. I so hold.

“Since I have in my humble view decided that based on the law and facts presented by the plaintiff, he lacks the locus standi to file this action, it will amount to mere academic exercise to consider any other grounds of objection even if the grounds can be decided against the plaintiff in the extant motion on notice of the 1st defendant.

“The action of the plaintiff, therefore, fails and same is liable to be dismissed. The suit is therefore accordingly dismissed. This is the judgment of the court.”

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