By Mbah Okem, Yenagoa
A High Court sitting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Capital, has struck out a suit seeking to declare the newly elected 105 Local Government Council chairmen, the deputy and councillors as ad-hoc delegates at Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary holding today.
The presiding judge, Justice E. G Umukoro, while delivering his ruling said, “because the case is a pre-primary matter involving a political party, the court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter.
“Someone can only claim to be an aspirant only if such person has taken part in a political party primary conducted by the party’s national leadership and considering the case before me, the applicants and claimants are not aspirants yet, and therefore the court has no jurisdiction.
“It is not the business of the court to dabble into political or domestic issues. In the light of the foregoing, this court is not interested and hereby strikes out the case because the matter is an internal party affair.
“And all parties in the suit should consult their party constitution and do what they think is right for them. It is ust struck out the suit seeking to authenticate the newly elected council chairmen and councilors as delegates during the primaries today.”
Chairman of Sagbama LGA, Embelakpo Alale, took the PDP to court, seeking that all the newly elected council chairmen, their deputies and councilors be declared as ad-hoc delegates for the September 3 PDP primary.
Speaking to journalists after the judgment,counsel representing the new council chairmen,vice chairmen and councilors (defendants), Chuks Uguru, said by virtue of their position, his clients are statutory and elected delegates.
He said, “But just last week, some powerful forces within the system decided to exclude my clients from participating in the primary election fixed for today. As law abiding citizens, we decided to come to court to ask for a declaration on all that our clients are entitled to participate.
“Also, comtemprenously, our adversaries also filed a cross action asking the court to ban our clients from participating in the primary election. The court considered the two cases at the same time and in the judgment just delivered, the court has declined jurisdiction; that it cannot dabble into issues of party primaries based on section 87 of the Electoral Act.
“So both cases are struck out. The implication of the judgment of the court in both cases is that the party or the national working committee of the PDP is at liberty to take their decision and conduct their primaries the way they deemed fit”.
Fedae Zimughai, counsel to the claimants said their contention was that newly elected chairmen, vice chairmen and councilors cannot come in.