A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has dismissed a suit seeking to disqualify the 2023 Governorship Candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Siminalaye Fubara.
A PDP governorship aspirant, Chief Morgan West, challenged the qualification of Fubura, claiming that he was not a member of the PDP and did not have a valid party membership card, among other allegations
But the presiding judge, Justice Adamu T. Mohammed, in his ruling on Friday threw out the suit for incompetence and lack of jurisdiction.
The court averred 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.
Mohammed said: “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 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 outside the court, the lawyer to Fubara and the PDP, Okechukwu Umodu, expressed happiness over the judgement in favour of his client.
He said the dismissal of the matter meant that there was no case for which his client would have to answer further.
Umodu said: “Like the plaintiff in this matter, he (West) contested election and lost.
He scored only four votes, and then he is now coming to court that the court should declare him 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 you no wrong has been done to you, 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.”
But the plaintiff, Morgan West, expressed dissatisfaction at the judgement, saying he was going on appeal.
He said: “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 memorandum of appearance and also they didn’t pay the extension of time fees. They have no defense 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”.