Alaibe goes to court over Bayelsa PDP guber primary

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Dissatisfied with the conduct and outcome of the recent Bayelsa State Gubernatorial primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ndutimi Alaibe, a frontline contestant, has gone to court in search of redress.

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On Friday September 13, 2019, Alaibe approached the Federal High Court in Yenogoa Judicial Division, Bayelsa State with an application for cancellation of the result of the primary election based on cited procedural flaws.

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The suit filed pursuant to Order 3(9) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019, seeks answers to questions bordering on obvious non-adherence to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act 2010, the Peoples Democratic Party Constitution and Election Guidelines, by the State Chapter of the party in the conduct of the Ward Congresses, inclusion of local government council officials in the delegates list and the procedure for inclusion of three ad-hoc delegates.

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Citing specific sections of relevant laws and guidelines, Alaibe is asking the court to examine the entire processes that resulted in the primaries and rule in his favour in the light of violations committed in a desperate move to impose a pre-determined hand-picked candidate on the people out of 21 aspirants.

It would be recalled that the Timi Alaibe Campaign Organisation had raised objections against what it described as crass disrespect for legal procedures and party guidelines in the build-up to the conduct of the governorship primary election by the State Chapter of the PDP. The objection covered open disobedience to the party constitution and electoral guidelines and the manner in which Ward Congresses were conducted; among others.

Specifically, the Campaign Organisation had protested the inclusion of the newly elected council chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors in the delegates list contrary to the provisions of the PDP Constitution; the manner in which electoral and returning officers were picked to favour aspirants endorsed by the already biased leadership of the party in the state; the manner in which the 315 ad-hoc delegates were directed to vote contrary to already established judicial precedents; among other issues.

The suit, with reference number FHC/YNG/CS/99/2019, has as defendants: the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Douye Diri, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Embeleakpo Alale for himself and representing the elected local government chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors of the PDP allowed to be delegates at the elective State Congress of the PDP in Bayelsa State held on September 3, 2019.

Also joined in the suit as defendant is Doubra Kumokou, for himself and on behalf of the Three Ad-Hoc Delegates allowed to be delegates at the elective State Congress.

The former Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs wants the court to determine whether the pre-election actions and inactions of the defendants satisfied conditions specified in relevant sections of Nigeria’s Constitution, the Electoral Acts and certain sections of the PDP Constitution.

It is Alaibe’s prayers that the entire processes be declared unconstitutional and the declaration of Senator Diri as the winner be declared invalid having failed to comply with relevant sections of the laws governing such processes.

He is also seeking an order setting aside the purported submission of Senator Diri’s name to INEC by the PDP as its candidate in the governorship election coming up on November 16, 2019 in view of the several legal and procedural infractions cited.

In view of this, he wants the court to order the conduct of fresh primary elections for the nomination and sponsorship of the candidate for the governorship election in Bayelsa State.

No date has yet been fixed for hearing in the case.

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