By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
Rattled by an order of a Federal High Court in Abuja in a suit seeking to scuttle its May 28, 2022 presidential primary, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) has shifted the battle to the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
The Commissioner of Trade and Investment in Abia State, Hon. Cosmos Ndukwe, had dragged PDP and Chairman of its Primary Election Planning Committee and National Secretary of the party, Senator Samuel Anyanwu and others before a Federal High Court in Abuja praying that the primary election be stopped.
His grouse was premissed on the alleged refusal of PDP to zone its presidential ticket for the 2023 presidential election to South East geo political zone, and his disqualification from participating in the presidential primary election on allegations of anti-party activities.
The aggrieved PDP presidential aspirant had in addition to his originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/508/2022, filed an ex-parte application for an order to restrain PDP from going ahead with the primary election until his suit has been fully determined.
However, on April 28, Justice Donatus Okorowo in a ruling on the ex-parte application argued by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Paul Erokoro, refused to grant the request of the plaintiff who was a former Deputy Speaker in Abia State House of Assembly.
The application was challenged by counsel to PDP, Mr Kalu Agu, who urged the judge not to grant the request of the plaintiff.
Justice Okorowo while refusing the ex-parte application, however, ordered PDP and its Primary Election Planning Committee to appear before the court on May 5 to show cause on why the primary election should not be stopped at the instance of the suit of the plaintiff.
But dissatisfied with the High Court’s decision, the Primary Election Planning Committee Chairman, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja praying that the order of Justice Okorowo be set aside.
Among others, the appellant, (Senator Anyanwu) claimed that the Judge erred in law by denying him fair hearing in breach of section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.
He asserted that the originating summon of the plaintiff was not ripe for hearing and that the time for him to file counter affidavit against the suit had not lapsed when the judge gave the order.
The appellant claimed that the court erred in law when it failed to aver its mind to the provision of Section 84 (15) of the Electoral Act 2022, before making the order to show cause.
Senator Anyanwu further asserted that the judge erred in not directing the plaintiff to put him (Anyanwu) on notice but rather, directed him to show cause on an ex-parte application allegedly anchored on an incompetent originating summons.
He, therefore, asked the Court of Appeal to void and set aside the order of the Federal High Court of April 28 asking him to show cause on why the primary election should not be stopped.
Apart from Ndukwe, other respondents in the appeal are the PDP, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st to 4th respondents, respectively.
The notice of appeal was filed on his behalf by an Abuja lawyer, Kalu Agu.
Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for hearing of the matter.