The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has slated Judgment for December 7, 2022, in the lawsuit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Accord and some of the candidates of Accord for election into the Rivers State House of Assembly.
A statement by Iniruo Wills, Spokesperson and Head of Legal, Dumo Lulu-Briggs Campaign Council, disclosed that at the resumed hearing of the suit which came up on Tuesday, 1st November, 2022, legal counsel for Accord, Abdulhameed Mohammed (SAN), argued the party’s preliminary objection to the suit on the grounds that it was not a pre-election matter within the meaning of section 285 of the Constitution and that, even if it were, it was statute-barred, having been filed outside the time allowed.
The hearing was also attended by the candidate of Accord for the 2023 governorship election for Rivers State, Chief DUMO Lulu-Briggs.
Learned counsel for the House of Assembly candidates, A.J Owonikoko (SAN) in his submissions urged the Honourable Court to dismiss the suit for being an abuse of court process. He argued extensively that the suit of the Plaintiff does not fall within the ambit of section 285 of the Constitution as a pre- election matter and the Plaintiff lacks the legal standing to institute the case. On his part, M. A. Bawa Esq who appeared for the 1st Defendant, INEC, impressed on the court that INEC duly observed the primaries of Accord held at a specially designated venue based on security concerns which the party had earlier notified INEC of.
The Plaintiff’s counsel, E C Ukala (SAN) responded to the preliminary objection, arguing that the Plaintiff, PDP, has a cause of action. He also argued the originating summon initiating the suit. Counsel for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd -27th Defendants adopted their various affidavits of facts and written addresses, which they adumbrated, and urged the Honourable Court to dismiss PDP’s action with compensatory costs.
The matter was then adjourned to 7th of December, 2022 for judgment.
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the Rivers Accord 2023 Governorship candidate, who witnessed the court proceedings, captured his observations and expectations on his verified social media handles, thus:
We aren’t in this race for the mere reason of politics and election, But Divinely in it for the great purpose of Rescuing Rivers residents from the grip of those that have held us hostage.
So, when our matter was called upon yesterday in court, the grounds that were canvassed by our counsels were very germane. We’re quite optimistic.
It’s very clear that the Nigerian constitution does not expect a meddlesome interloper to bring an action and call it a pre-election matter; so, all of those objections were raised yesterday.
Then of course, even when we went to the substantive matter, I think that our counsels did justice to all of it. So, we expect judgment by the special Grace of God.
Again, we are aware that their intent is to distract us, of course that’s what it is. Because, there is no merit in this matter.
Else, what is the whole idea? disqualify candidates of other parties so you can be the sole candidate, and then deny Rivers people the opportunity to elect for themselves that man and woman who should be their governor or who should be their House of Assembly member or House of Representatives member or their Senator. It’s quite unfortunate that we elevate politics above Human comfort, above governance and all of that.
We went to an IDP camp the day before, and then the conditions with which we find the persons, you will weep! A place not meant for more than 50 to 70 persons is housing well over 3000 plus, persons. We got information that somebody died there, and then sick persons on the floor, no medicines.
We also got information that the government sent some small relief materials, more than a week ago. At times like this what you expect is that the response will be swift, be adequate and be continuous. That’s not happening.
What do you see? The PDP is meddling in the internal affairs of other parties, engaging in activities they ought not to engage in, refusing to engage in the simple activity of Governance and delivering good governance to Rivers people. It’s quite unfortunate!
However, I advise our supporters to be resilient in their believe and go about their campaigns. For us, we are very optimistic, for we are in this race. What they don’t want is an election, what they are going to get is an election.
We are on the ballot! INEC has published their final list, we are on the ballot. We are going to contest this election, and we shall win this election.
Those of them who are big parties, the goliaths in the PDP and the rest should not be afraid of Davids like us. I don’t know why this whole fear, but we are equal to the task.
David shall Bring goliath to his knees.