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2023: Court Declares Rivers PDP Governorship Candidate Can Contest




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A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has declared that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Rivers State governorship candidate, Siminalaye Fubara, can go ahead to contest in the forthcoming general election.

Naija News reports that the High Court has today dismissed a suit seeking to disqualify  Fubara from contesting the 2023 elections.

An aspirant of the PDP, Chief Morgan West, had challenged Fubara’s candidacy, alleging that he (Fubara) was not a member of the party and did not have a valid PDP membership card, among other issues.

However, the presiding judge, Justice Adamu Mohammed, in his judgement today, dismissed the suit filed by the plaintiff for incompetence and lack of jurisdiction.

The court observed that the originating summons was incompetent because it was not signed by a legal practitioner known to law.

Justice Mohammed ruled that the defendants were able to prove their case that the plaintiff did not exhaust the internal remedial procedures as provided in the PDP’s Constitution before going to court.

The court said that the plaintiff had signed an undertaken to abide by the outcome of the primary election without resorting to any litigation and should be bound by it.

The High Court Justice advanced that “The plaintiff is hereby bound by the undertaken he made,” in addition to his failure to exhaust the internal dispute mechanisms as provided in the constitution of the party, as an aggrieved aspirant.”

Justice Mohammed also ruled that the matter was incompetent because the proper parties mentioned in his affidavit were not before the court.

The court said the plaintiff in his affidavit in support of his originating summons made allegations of fact against the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Chief Onueze Okocha and a former governor of the state (now derecognized) Sir Celestine Omehia, whereas the parties were not joined as parties before the court.

Speaking after the court’s judgement, lawyer to Fubara and the PDP, Okechukwu Umodu, who was glad the judgement went in favour of his client said “Like the plaintiff in this matter, he (West) contested the election and lost. He scored only four votes, and then he is now coming to court that the court should declare him a winner against someone that scored far higher than he did.

“That shouldn’t be done in a democracy. We have to abide by the rules of law when no wrong has been done to us, and then you are coming to court to claim that wrong has been done to you.

“It is not proper and this judgement should serve as a lesson to other aspirants, not only in the PDP but every other political party.”

However, the plaintiff, Morgan West, who wasn’t happy about the judgement disclosed that “We are not accepting the judgement and we are going an appeal. We are even prepared to go to the Supreme Court. There are pending motions before the court.

“They (defendants) filed out of time and they didn’t file a memorandum of appearance and also they didn’t pay the extension of time fees. They have no defence whatsoever.

“So, we are going on appeal and I am talking with my lawyers. We are prepared will go to the Supreme Court on this matter.”

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