Court dismisses suit seeking to halt Rivers PDP governorship primary

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A federal high court in Abuja has refused to stop the governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers state.

In a ruling delivered on Wednesday, Taiwo Taiwo, the presiding judge, dismissed an ex parte application filed by Farah Dagogo, a member of the house of representatives, which sought to stop the primary.

Dagogo was arrested and arraigned after he was declared wanted by the Rivers state government.

He is standing trial on a two-count charge that borders on conspiracy to commit felony and alleged sponsorship of cultism in the state.

However, the lawmaker who had since pleaded not guilty to the charge, approached the court through his team of lawyers, alleging that his arrest and detainment is a deliberate attempt to prevent him from participating in the governorship primary of the party.

He filed an ex-parte application praying the court to issue an interim injunction restraining the party from proceeding with the scheduled primary without the inclusion of his name on the list of aspirants.

He also requested an interlocutory injunction prohibiting the PDP from using any aspirants’ list, which excludes his name, to hold the primary, pending the outcome of the substantive suit.

Dagogo also sought an order barring the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from accepting any candidate that wins the primary if he doesn’t participate in the exercise.

The PDP and INEC are the defendants in the suit.

Taiwo, in his ruling, held that the processes the plaintiff filed before the court did not disclose any urgency that would warrant the issuance of an ex parte injunction against the defendants.

“Ex parte injunctions are meant for matters of real urgency,” the court held.

The judge, however, added that the court has the power to give redress to the plaintiff even after the primary is conducted.

He also noted that whereas the plaintiff filed his substantive suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/654/2022 on May 12, he waited till May 18 to file the ex parte motion for an interim injunction.

The court subsequently fixed June 7 to hear Dagogo’s substantive suit against PDP and INEC.

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