Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Federal High Court sitting in Enugu has struck out the suit filled by Chika Idoko of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), seeking the disqualification of all candidates of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State.
Idoko, who is the Senatorial candidate of the ADC for Enugu North district had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP, and all its candidates in Enugu State to the court over perceived irregularities during the conduct of the party’s primary.
Idoko is claiming that the conduct of PDP primary election was in contravention of Section 77 of the Electoral Act and should thus be voided and the party be punished in line with extant provisions of the Section 84 of the same Act.
Arguing through his counsel, Barr. T. Ekpenyong, Idoko claimed that the party submitted its membership register to INEC on May 6, 2022, less than 30 days to its primary election, contrary to the provisions of the law.
The defendants, represented by Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, and two others: Anthony Ani, (SAN), Justina Offia (Mrs.) SAN, Barr. Ogochukwu Onyekwuluje, prayed that the matter be struck out for lack of jurisdiction.
Delivering Judgment on the matter, the presiding judge, Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo, said the matter was not statute-barred because it was not filed outside 14 days after the first defendant (INEC) had published the names of candidates.
The judge however stated that the appellant lacked the locus standi to institute the matter because he was not an aspirant or a member of the second respondent (PDP).
To this effect, Justice Ohunbanjo struck out the suit, saying “This court lacks jurisdiction to hear the originating summons because it will be an exercise in futility.“
“Where the plaintiff lacks locus standi to maintain the matter, the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the suit.”