Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, has adjourned till Friday, October 21, the suit seeking to nullify the May 25 Abia State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship primary.
One of the aspirants, Dr Sampson Orji, had approached the court and asked for the nullification of the exercise, alleging that the delegate list used in the primary was generated in favour of the party’s flag bearer, Professor Uche Ikonne.
Orji had last week, refuted claims by the PDP that he withdrew from the race shortly before the primary, challenging anyone with any copy of letter of his withdrawal as required by the Electoral Act to tender same.
He also alleged that there was no three-man ad hoc congress held in any part of the state contrary to claims by the party.
When the matter came up for hearing, Counsel to the first and second defendants (PDP and Ikonne), Mr A. S Kolawole, filed preliminary objection to the suit.
But Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Rilwan Idris, filed his response to the preliminary objection and expressed willingness to pursue his case, harping on the essence of time.
The presiding Judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike, also expressed willingness to hear the matter warning that she would not want time to be wasted anymore.
Meanwhile, the matter was adjourned till Friday for hearing of the substantive suit and all other pending applications.
Later in an interview with Ikengaonline, Counsel to the plaintiff, Idris, accused the first and second respondents of causing unnecessary delays in the hearing “apparently to buy time or to truncate the matter because it’s time bound.”
He noted that pre-election matters should be discharged within 180 days based on the new Electoral Act.
Orji’s lawyer appealed to the court to hasten the trial so the matter could be determined before the 180-day period which would expire by November 5.
“After we had filed the suit and served them they spent three months without any response, and only came today and filed preliminary objection maybe to truncate the matter or to buy time,” Idris fumed.
He, however, expressed confidence in the court for justice for his client.
When approached for his reaction, Counsel to PDP and Ikonne, Mr Kolawole, declined comments.
Orji had earlier denied withdrawing from the race contrary to claims by the party, challenging anybody with proof of his withdrawal document to make same public.
The former Commissioner vowed to fight impunity and rascality in the party, saying that he is out to enthrone internal democracy and due process in the PDP.
Orji who represented Arochukwu state constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly in 1999, said that evil could only thrive if good men decide to keep mute.