A federal high court in Abuja has sacked Umo Eno as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom state.
In a judgment delivered on January 20, Fadima Aminu ordered the PDP to submit Michael Enyong’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its candidate.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1295/2022 filed in August, Enyong had submitted that he won the party’s primaries conducted on May 25, 2022.
Enyong had referred the court to an order by Obiora Egwuatu, judge of a federal high court, on May 18 in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/606/2022 which restrained the PDP from utilising its list of ad-hoc delegates to conduct its gubernatorial primary election in Akwa Ibom, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The plaintiff said he emerged winner of the indirect primary election scoring 2,448 out of the 2,776 total accredited votes.
But he said the party refused to submit his name to INEC as the governorship flagbearer which informed his decision to seek legal redress.
While INEC maintained a neutral stance in the matter, the 2nd defendant (PDP) never put in an appearance despite the proof of being served with the originating summons and all other processes.
Delivering the judgment, the judge held that Enyong has been able to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt.
“In the final analysis, this court holds that the plaintiff has successfully proved his case on the preponderance of evidence. Consequently, the plaintiff is hereby declared the validly nominated gubernatorial candidate of the 2nd Defendant having emerged winner of the conducted primary election in Akwa Ibom state for the forthcoming 2023 general elections held on 25th day of May 2022,” the judge said.
“In the same vein, any other governorship primary election held after the valid election of 25th day of May, 2022, that election having no basis in law, is hereby declared null, void, and of no effect together with its outcome.
“The 2nd defendant (PDP) is hereby ordered to submit and present the name and details of the plaintiff to the 1st defendant as its rightful candidate.
“The 1st defendant (INEC) is to accord the plaintiff recognition, issue him a nomination form or publish his name as the 2nd defendant’s Akwa Ibom state gubernatorial candidate for the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
“The activities of a political party cannot be operated arbitrarily or at the whims or caprices of select individuals, no matter how highly placed.
“Political parties are creations of the constitution and statute. Therefore, the affairs of registered political parties in Nigeria must be run in conformity and in obedience to the law creating them…