Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
There is uneasy calm in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Abia State as the fate of all the party’s flag bearers in the 2023 elections seems to be hanging in the balance.
This is following the ruling by an Abia State High Court sitting in Aba that reversed itself on its earlier order which recognised the three-man Ad hoc delegates list that produced them.
One Akuoma Friday, had on May 16, 2022, approached the court, urging it to vacate its earlier order.
After due consideration of the suit, the court, presided over by Justice C.U. Okoroafor, yesterday, averred that it erred in law to have granted its earlier order.
Justice Okorafor explained that the new National Judicial Council guideline had stripped the court of the jurisdiction to entertain such matter.
The PDP flag bearer emerged after the court had issued an order on May 17, 2022, stating that only the 3-man Adhoc delegates list should be used for the purpose of electing the party’s governorship candidate.
The pre-convention order read in part, “The PDP, PDP Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu; PDP Abia State Chairman, Allwell Okere, PDP national organising Secretary, and Independent National Electoral Commission (1st to 5th defendants), their agents, privies, and employees howsoever described are hereby restrained in the interim from using, adopting or relying on any other list apart from the three-man Ad hoc list annexed herein as Exhibit ‘D’ as that has the name of the Claimant based on the Ad hoc election congresses or election of the 1st defendant (PDP) held on 6th May 2022 pending hearing and determination of the motion of notice.”
The court had also barred INEC from “recognising and monitoring any primaries by the 1st defendant (PDP) sought to be conducted with any other delegates list from the 1st defendant (PDP) other than the three-man Ad hoc delegates list annexed hereto as Exhibit ‘D’ which contains the name of the Applicant as one of the three-man Adhoc delegates congresses or election held in Abia State on 6th May 2022 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”
But in a ruling on Wednesday, the court granted the prayer of Akuoma Friday and vacated its order.
The NJC, in a bid to limit the multiplicity of political matters involving INEC, had on May 11, 2022, stated that “All suits to which these Policy Directions apply shall be filed, received, or entertained only at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in so far as the relief sought, or potential consequential order (s) or declaration (s) may restrain or compel persons or actions beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any one State.”
In an interview with Ikengaonline, a chieftain of PDP who did not want to be mentioned said that the latest development was a danger signal for the party.
He said that the party had been thrown into confusion because of the desperation of some persons to have their way not minding the illegality of their actions.
“So the order now subsisting is that of the federal high court which ruled that the 3 -man delegates election did not hold.
“So anything done based on an order by a court without jurisdiction is a nullity. What do we do to salvage the situation, if any; that’s the question now”.
But when contacted, the Acting Publicity Secretary of the PDP, cum the Vice Chairman, Abia North, Elder Amah Abraham, said the party would issue official statement on the matter by Saturday.
Some of the PDP aspirants have already decamped to order political parties citing lack of transparency and Internal democracy.