The high court sitting in Aba, Abia State has vacated the order which recognized the three-man adhoc delegates list that saw to the emergence of Prof Uche Ikonne as the Peoples Democratic party governorship candidate on May 25.
Ikonne, who is the preferred choice of the incumbent governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, emerged after the court had issued an order on May 17, declaring that only the 3-man adhoc delegates list be used for the purpose of electing the party’s governorship candidate.
According to the report, the court had ordered that “The PDP, Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu; PDP Abia State Chairman, Allwell Okere, PDP national organising Secretary, and INEC (1st to 5th defendants), their agents, privies and employees howsoever described are hereby restrained in the interim from using, adopting or relying on any other list apart from the three-man adhoc list annexed herein as Exhibit ‘D’ as that has the name of the Claimant based on the adhoc election congresses or election of the 1st defendant (PDP) held on 6th May 2022 pending hearing and determination of the motion of notice.”
The order followed a suit filed by one Akuoma Friday on May 16.
The presiding judge, Justice C.U. Okoroafor, had also barred the INEC from “recognising and monitoring any primaries by the 1st defendant (PDP) sought to be conducted with any other delegates list from the 1st defendant (PDP) other than the three-man adhoc delegates list annexed hereto as Exhibit ‘D’ which contains the name of the Applicant as one of the three-man adhoc delegates congresses or election held in Abia State on 6th May 2022 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”
But in a fresh ruling, the court held that it lacked jurisdiction to grant those orders based on a fresh practice direction issued by the National Judicial Council.
Recall that the NJC, in a bid to limit multiplicity of political matters involving INEC, had on May 11 stated that “All suits to which these Policy Directions apply shall be filed, received, or entertained only at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in so far as the relief sought, or potential consequential order (s) or declaration (s) may restrain or compel persons or actions beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any one State;”