Court annuls election of Senator Nwaoboshi
- Upholds Ned Nwoko as PDP candidate
A Federal High Court in Abuja has annulled the election of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi in the February 23 elections in the state for Delta North Senatorial District..
The presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, on his judgment said that Nwaoboshi, ought not have participated in the election as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, considering the result of the PDP primary on October 2, 2018 in Asaba.
The court declared that Ned Nwoko, who filed the suit against Nwaoboshi, is the rightful candidate of the PDP and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish his name, having established before the court that he scored the highest number of votes in that primary election.
The court also barred Nwaoboshi from parading himself as the candidate of the PDP for the senatorial zone.
Nwoko, through his counsel, Ahmed Raji SAN, had sued INEC, the PDP and Nwaoboshi, seeking for an order to restrain the commission from publishing the name of Nwaoboshi as the candidate for Delta north senatorial district.
The plaintiff also asked for a separate order compelling PDP to forward his name to INEC as the authentic candidate of the party for the Delta North senatorial district.
In his suit predicated on seven grounds, 20-paragraph affidavit evidence and five exhibits, Nwoko claimed that he was screened and cleared to contest the primary election by the PDP electoral committee.
He also claimed that at the end of the election, he scored 453 votes to beat Nwaoboshi to second position, having scored 405 votes; while another contestant, Paul Osaji, came third with 216 votes.
Nwoko told the court that he was surprised that the PDP neglected the result of the primary election and sent the name of Nwaoboshi to INEC as its candidate for the senatorial district.
The former member of the House of Representatives protested that all efforts to redress the injustice through the PDP appeal panel failed.
In defence, the three respondents, INEC, PDP and Nwaoboshi, requested the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that it was not filed within time allowed by law.
They argued that based on that ground, the suit was status-barred and also constituted an abuse of court process, noting that the plaintiff filed a similar suit at the FCT High Court which was struck out upon its withdrawal.
Mohammed, after reviewing the claims and counter-claims of parties, held that the case of the plaintiff was not status-barred and did not also amount to “forum shopping” as alleged by the defendants.
The judge held that Nwoko was entitled to his claims and prayers, having established that he emerged victorious in the PDP Delta north senatorial primary election of October 2, 2018.
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