Court declines to exclude LG officials as Bayelsa delegates

The Sagbama High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, has struck out a suit seeking disqualification of newly-elected local government officials from participating as delegates in the ongoing of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The court also said the claimants lacked the locus to demand the disqualification of the ward and local government ad-hoc delegates elected to participate in the primaries.

Aggrieved aspirants including a former Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Ndutimi Alaibe and Chief Fred Agbedi had approached the court to bar the ad-hoc delegates from partaking in the primaries.

They had argued that since the elected officials failed to satisfy the 90 day ceiling in the case of local government officials and one month timeframe in the case of ad-hoc delegates in line with the provisions of the PDP Constitution, they were not qualified as delegates for the internal poll.

But Justice E.G. Umukoro in his ruling said the court was constraint to dismiss the issue of jurisdiction before considering the substance of the case.

Umukoro citing judicial precedents first defined an aspirant of any political party as someone, who participated in the of the party.

He posited that since the person seeking the reliefs had yet to participate in the primary election of the PDP, the court could not entertain such pre-primary matter.

He insisted that since the claimants lacked the locus to institute the matter as aspirants, the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

He added: “It is not the business of the court to dabble into the internal matters of a political party. This court is not invested with the jurisdiction to hear the matter. The only jurisdiction the court has is to strike out the case of the claimants with the cost awarded.”

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