From Tony Osauzo, Benin
A Federal High Court in Benin, yesterday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise and publish names of candidates produced by the Governor Godwin Obaseki’s faction of Edo Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as standard-bearers of the party for the 2023 National Assembly election.
The judgment is the second on the same subject matter by two Federal High Courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction as a Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekpo in May gave similar order to INEC to recognise the candidates of Dan Orbih-led faction of the party in Edo.
In yesterday’s judgement delivered by Justice S. M. Shuaibu, the court granted all the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs, who emerged at the Obaseki’s faction conducted primary are Mathew Iduoriyekemwen for Edo South senatorial district, Sunny Aguebor for Oredo federal constituency and the flag bearer for Akoko Edo federal constituency, Kabiru Adjoto.
Among the reliefs they sought from the court are an order mandating the fourth defendant, INEC, to publish the names of the plaintiffs as the validly elected candidates of the Edo PDP for the 2023 general election.
In his judgment, Shaibu said based on past decisions by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, the state chapter of a political party is not empowered by law to conduct party primary and that only the National Working Committee (NWC) of a political party has the power to conduct party primary.
The judge, in apparent reference to the party primary conducted by Orbih’s faction of the party, said: “There is nothing before the court to show that the primary in which the 4th to 39th defendants participated was conducted by NWC of the PDP. Rather, their primary was conducted by the Edo State chapter of the PDP.