Why court decision on Kogi guber primary won’t stand- PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the decision of the Lokoja High Court that it had no candidate on 3rd September 2019 governorship election will not stand. Abdulrahman Zakariyau writes.

The court verdict

Engr. Musa Wada had emerged the candidate of the PDP for the governorship election held on 16 November, 2019. Not satisfied with the outcome, an aspirant in the party’s Primary, Alhaji Abubakar Idris challenged the victory of Engr Wada.

Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim who came second in that primary through his counsel said he won the PDP primaries, alleging the smuggling in of 600 and another missing 241 votes to favor the PDP flag bearer.

But Justice John Olorunfemi while looking at the evidence brought before him by the plaintiff and the defendant ruled that the PDP primary was hasty and inconclusive.

Why we object

But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the judgment of the Kogi State High Court, which voided the party’s Kogi State Governorship primary election.

Justice John Olorunfemi had last week declared that the PDP never had a candidate in the governorship election.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, who briefed journalists Sunday in Abuja stated that “the judgment is a classical example of judicial rascality and scandalous travesty of justice which cannot stand, and for which our party will stop at nothing in exploring all legal avenues to immediately set it aside at the appellate courts.

Ologbondiyan insisted that the judgment has “heavily detracted from the integrity of the Kogi High Court, threatens the reputation of the entire institution of the judiciary if not immediately quashed.

He added that “It is completely unimaginable that a court of law will allow itself to be railroaded into a voyage to the void, to the extend that it stood the law on its head by importing and pronouncing reliefs on matters that were not before it or even pleaded by any of the parties; to wit, a declaration on the validity of PDP Kogi state governorship election primary.

He continued “Already, our party has been fully made aware of how the All Progressives Congress (APC) and agents of Governor Yahaya Bello administration had mounted pressure on the Court to corrupt itself by twisting a matter, which had nothing to do with the validity of our primary, to assist the APC in its obnoxious plots against the PDP.  

“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerians are all aware that our great party, on the 3rd and 4th of September 2109, duly conducted our primary for the Kogi governorship election, which was monitored and certified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and which produced our candidate, Engr. Musa Wada, who fully participated in the November 16th 2019 governorship election.

“It is therefore instructive to state that the pre-election suit filed in the Kogi High Court by only one of our many aspirants in the primary, Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed Ibrahim, only sought the court to declare him the winner of PDP primary election.

“All the parties agreed that the primary was valid and concluded. The only contention between Engineer Musa Wada and Abubakar Mohammed Ibrahim was to determine who the actual winner was and nothing more.

“In determining the matter, the judge found that Abubakar Mohammed Ibrahim did not establish his case that he won the primary.  Instead of stopping at that, which is within the ambit of the reliefs sought and opposed in the court, the judge strangely went ahead to sacrilegiously deliver the script of the APC, to wit; declaring that the PDP Kogi State Governorship primaries was invalid and that PDP had no candidate for the Governorship election of 16th November, 2019.

“The following questions are pertinent; Why did the trial Judge proceed to declare the PDP primary invalid when there was no such prayer before the court? Why did the trial Judge declare that the PDP had no candidate for the Governorship election of 16th November 2020 when there was no such prayers before the court? Is the trial Judge a Santa Claus to award judgments that were not sought for?

“The conduct of the judge is completely unethical, a direct abuse of the law and powers of the court to satisfy the interest of the APC and Governor Yahaya Bello, in their failed bid to frustrate the retrieval of our governorship mandate at the tribunal.

“The PDP will take this matter to the very legitimate end and get redress at the appellate courts and we have instructed our lawyers accordingly.

“The PDP therefore intends to send a petition to the National Judicial Council (NJC) against the trial judge as his conduct amounted to gross misconduct, which our judiciary must not condone. Such judicial officer should not be allowed to continue to bring the institution of our judiciary to disrepute”.

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