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Kwara poll: Court dismisses PDP suit seeking Gov. Abdulrazaq, APC’s disqualification

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, dismissed a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s suit seeking the disqualification of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara and All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 11 governorship election.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, held that the suit was an abuse of court process.
According to Justice Ekwo, there is no iota of law which supports this action.
Newsmen reports that the PDP, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1324/2022, had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Abdulrazaq and APC as 1st to 3rd respondents respectively.
The PDP had asked the court to declare that Mr Abdulrazaq’s West African Examination Council (WAEC) School Certificate attached to his affidavit in support of his personal particulars which bears the name “RAZAQ A. R.” did not belong to the him, “whose name as shown in FORM EC 9 is ‘ABDULRAHMAN ABDULRAZAQ.’”
The party claimed that the WAEC certificate was forged and presented by the APC to INEC to aid Abdulrazaq’s educational qualification as provided for in Section 177 (d) of the 1999 (as amended).
The PDP, therefore, sought an order disqualifying Abdulrazaq and APC from participating in the Kwara governorship poll, among others.
But the duo opposed the PDP’s application, urging the court to dismiss the suit for constituting an abuse of court process.
They argued that the PDP lacked the locus standi to instituting the action having not been a contestant nor a member of the party, among others.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Ekwo agreed with the 2nd and 3rd respondents (Abdulrazaq and APC) that the PDP had no locus standi (legal right) to file the matter.
According to him,.where there is no locus, the court has no jurisdiction.
He said the court found that the action was incompetent for lack of locus standi.
Ekwo held that that matter bordered on the internal affairs of the APC in which the PDP lacked locus to file the case.
On argument about non-disclosure of cause of action against the respondents, the judge said that there was a nexus between locus standi and a cause of action.
He, therefore, said that since the PDP had no locus standi, it also did not have any cause of action against the respondents.
Justice Ekwo also agreed with the respondents that the suit was an abuse of court process.
“It is express in the provision of Section 29 (5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 that the right of action on the matter for which the applicant/respondent (PDP) has filed this action is given to ‘any aspirant who participated in the primaries of his political party’.
“This Court has also previously found on the first leg of objection of the 2nd respondent/applicant that the applicant/respondent (PDP) is not an ‘aspirant’ of the 3rd respondent.
“This court has also found that the provision of Section 285 (14) (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) also relied upon by the applicant/respondent (PDP) in this cause does not avail.
“The summation of this is that there is no iota of law which support this action. It is on this ground that I find that this case is an abuse of process and I so hold,” he said.
According to him, where a court finds that a suit filed by a party amounts to an abuse of the process of the court, it has the duty to dismiss it to put a final stop, at least as far as that court is concerned, to the abuse of its process.
He, consequently, dismissed the suit for constituting an abuse of court process.

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Ortom expresses willingness to submit to probe of his administration

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

The immediate past Governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom has welcomed the inauguration of two Judicial Commissions by his successor, Governor Hyacinth Alia, to probe the activities of his administration between 2015 and 2023.

In a press statement signed by Terver Akase media Aide to the Ortom, the former Governor expressed his willingness to cooperate with the probe panels as long as the investigation is carried out in line with the law and stressed that his administration was built on transparency, accountability, and good governance.

He emphasised his readiness to provide any information or clarification, as may be required.

Chief Ortom also urged his former appointees to equally make themselves available whenever called upon to provide clarifications.

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Ortom, Suswam preach unity at PDP expanded caucus meeting

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

Immediate past governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom, former Governor of Benue State, Senator Gabriel Suswam and Senate minority leader, Senator Patrick Moro on Monday urged members of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), in Benue State to work for the unity of the party in the state.

The PDP leaders made the disclosure at the PDP expanded caucus meeting, held at the party’s Secretariat in Makurdi.

In his remark, Chief Ortom told party members that there was no friction between him, Senator Suswam and Senator Moro.

He urged PDP members to discountenace the rumors that he was decamping to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Chief Ortom further said while members support those in authority at the state and federal level to provide dividends of democracy, they must not lose sight of the fact that they are PDP members, and must play their role as a credible and constructive opposition.

Earlier, Senator Suswam called on party members not to dwell on the mistakes of the past, but learn from the mistakes of the past in order for the party to move forward.

He stressed that leaders of the party in the state have closed ranks in order to build the party and ensure it returns back to power in 2027.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Patrick Moro urged party members to remain steadfast and committed as the good old days of the party were coming back.

The Senate Minority Leader disclosed that those waiting to see quarrel between the PDP leaders in Benue State will be disappointed as Chief Ortom, Senator Suswam and himself have resolved to work together for the party.

He assured party members that the PDP was going to bounce back, adding that the leadership of the party was going to be returned to the people in line with the party’s slogan ‘power to the people.’

The governorship candidate of the PDP in the 2023 elections, Rt. Hon Titus Uba appreciated party members for finding him and his running mate, Sir John Ngbede, worthy to fly the Party’s flag, and added that the party needs to be united  to be a credible and formidable opposition.

The Minority Leader of the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Michael Audu, disclosed that members of the PDP in the State Assembly are united and ready to support the party anytime.

Chief David Amo, who spoke for Zone ‘A’, Elder Laha Dzever who spoke for Zone ‘B’ and Rt. Hon Hassan Saleh who spoke for Zone ‘C’ all stressed the need for party unity and expressed optimism with the fortunes of the party as leaders of the party have resolved to work together.

Former Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly and member of PDP Board of Trustees, Chief. Mrs. Margareth Icheen, Benue State Women Leader of the PDP, Mrs. Abeje Ewa, Idu Banke who spoke for the youths all commended the leaders of the party in the state for coming together to ensure the party returns to power in 2027.

The State Chairman of the party, Sir John Ngbede also announced vacancies for the position of National Ex-Officio from the state and Zonal Chairman of the PDP for Zone ‘B’ Senatorial

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Aggrieved APC Governorship aspirant vows to take legal action against APC

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By Elvis Omoregie, Benin

One of the aggrieved governorship aspirants in the just concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election in Edo State, Hon. Dennis Idahosa has vowed to take legal action against the party.

Idahosa made this known while partaking in a demonstration at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, calling for “fairness” in the just concluded APC primary election in Edo state.

Idahosa, who was earlier announced as the winner of the primary election by the former chairman of the APC primary election Committee and Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has also stated that he will take legal action against the party if fairness is not upheld.

He said, “I am not here to make trouble, I am a lawmaker but one thing that we want is justice. Today, I might be a young man but it might be the children of NWC members tomorrow. We have to do the right thing. If we continue to do what is wrong as a country, we are not going to move forward.

“So I am calling on Mr. President to call NWC to order. Elections were held on the 17th of February. What they did on the 22nd was just selection.”

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