Abiodun OBA

Politicians have been advised to always adhere strictly to party guidelines, rules, and regulations in order to promote genuine democracy.

Justice Emmanuel Agim of the Supreme Court, on Friday, gave the advice while dismissing an appeal instituted by the Dan Orbhi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo chapter, seeking a court order to authenticate the ad hoc delegate of elections conducted by Dan Orbhi’s faction and to invalidate another one conducted by Gov. Godwin Obaseki’s faction.

In the judgment, Justice Agim, the Apex Court held that the issue of leadership by political parties is an internal affair and as such, the courts have no jurisdiction.

In the appeal marked SC/CV/979/2022, filed by Monday Osagie, the Supreme Court said that the appeal lacked merit.

Obaseki and Orbhi have been on each other’s throats on who controls the party in the state.

A Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, on Wednesday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognize and publish the names of candidates produced by the Obaseki-led faction of the Edo PDP as standard-bearers of the party in the forthcoming 2023 elections.

In that judgment delivered by Justice S. Shuaibu, the court granted all the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs include the party’s candidate for Edo South senatorial district, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen; Sunny Aguebor for Oredo federal constituency, and the flag bearer for Akoko Edo federal constituency, Kabiru Adjoto, among others.

Among the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs was an order of court mandating the fourth defendant, INEC, to publish the names of the plaintiffs as the validly elected candidates of the Edo PDP for the 2023 general elections.

The judge noted that based on past decisions by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, the state chapter of a political party was not empowered by law to conduct party primaries and that only the National Working Committee, NWC, of a political party that has the power to conduct party primaries.

According to him, “there is nothing before the court to show that the primaries in which the 4th to 39th defendants participated were conducted by the National Working Committee of the PDP. Rather, their primaries were conducted by the Edo State chapter of the PDP.

“In my view, the power of INEC under Section 84 of the Electoral Act is limited to monitoring of party primary elections and does not extend to preparing or declaring the results of that election. This remains the law.

“In the light of the foregoing, INEC cannot rely on results prepared by the first defendant, Edo PDP.”

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