A Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State presided over by Justice S.M. Shuaibu has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise and publish the candidates that belong to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faction of Governor Godwin Obaseki for the 2023 elections.
Justice Shuaibu granted all the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs, including PDP’s candidate for Edo South Matthew Iduoriyekemwen; Sunny Aguebor for Oredo Federal Constituency;and the standard bearer for Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency, Kabiru Adjoto, among others.
The plaintiffs sought an order of court, mandating INEC to publish the names of the plaintiffs as the validly-elected candidates of Edo PDP for the 2023 general elections.
The presiding judge noted that based on past decisions by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, the state chapter of a party was not empowered by law to conduct primaries, stating that only the National Working Committee (NWC) of a party has the power to conduct the party’s primaries.
He said: “There is nothing before the Honourable Court to show that the primaries in which the 4th to 39th defendants participated was conducted by the NWC of 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’s 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, the fourth defendant, INEC, cannot rely on results prepared by the first defendant, Edo PDP.”
The FHC’s judgment was delivered at a time when the matter is before the Supreme Court without a date yet fixed for judgment.
The PDP held parallel primaries in Edo with factions belonging to Obaseki and the National Vice Chairman Southsouth of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, an ally of Rivers Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike