The Supreme Court has dismissed two appeals filed by some ad-hoc delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state.
Gatekeepers News reports that Two factions – one loyal to Dan Orbih, national vice-chairman of the party, and the other loyal to Godwin Obaseki, the state governor – had conducted congresses in April to elect ad-hoc delegates across 192 wards.
The 581 delegates loyal to Orbih instituted a suit before the Abuja federal high court marked FHC/Abj/ CS/598/2022 through their representatives – Monday Osagie, Reuben Ekhosuehi, Adeyanba Osaro, Magdalene Osawe, and Imariabe Oghogho.
A Federal High Court Judge, Inyang Ekwo on May 26, ruled in favour of the plaintiffs and issued an order restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising or accepting the list of ad-hoc delegates produced by the Obaseki-led faction.
The judgement was appealed on July 25 and eventually overturned in the Court of Appeal.
The court of appeal held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter because it’s an inter-party issue that should be resolved within the PDP.
Delivering judgment on the appeals on Friday, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court headed by Amina Augie affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
“I hold that the Court of Appeal correctly held that the matter is an intra-party affair. It is not justiciable and not within the jurisdiction of the federal high court,” Augie said.
The justices also held that delegates do not have the constitutional right to seek redress in court.
“If an aspirant had come and made complaints about grievances, it would have been looked into. The court cannot open that door to delegates,” she said.
The apex court also said political parties should learn to take control and mediate over their internal party affairs.
“In the light of the foregoing, I hold that the court of appeal correctly held that the appeal is an internal affair that should be determined by the party,” the court held.
“This appeal fails as it lacks merit it is accordingly dismissed.”