PDP holds primaries in Akwa Ibom, despite counter court order

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Despite an order from a Federal High Court in Abuja ordering the parties to the action challenging the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) election of ad hoc delegates in Akwa Ibom State to “maintain the status quo before the war,” the party conducted its primaries on Sunday using said delegates.

Although the PDP appealed, asking the Court of Appeal to overturn the order, the case was not heard until the primaries.

The ruling party in the state held primaries on Sunday (today) to elect its candidates for the 2023 elections to the House of Assembly and House of Representatives.

Aniekeme Finbarr, press secretary to Governor Udom Emmanuel, posted on his Facebook page winners’ names in 23 of the state’s 26 precincts, so far.

Mr. Finbaar also provided updates on the primary winners for the state’s 10 federal precincts.

The PDP had held a neighborhood congress on April 30 to elect three ad hoc delegates who will vote in the party’s primaries.

Some party members have, however, filed a petition with the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking the court to overturn the results of the neighborhood congress.

The candidates, who are mainly supporters of a sitting senator and aspiring state governor, Bassey Albert, said there was no election to choose the ad hoc delegates in the ‘State.

The court ordered the parties to the case to “maintain the pre-war status quo” pending the hearing and decision on the lawsuit.

Since the court gave the directive, several people, including lawyers and non-lawyers, have given various definitions of the Latin phrase “status quo antebellum” as it affects the PDP primaries in the state.

Etefia Ekanem, associate professor of law at Uyo University, said PREMIUM TIME Saturday that “status quo” means “remaining the action as it is” but “statu quo antebellum” means “remaining the action as it was before the start of the war”.

“The problem (the war) was the election of delegates. This means remaining active as before the election of delegates.

Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, and another lawyer, Ekemini Udim, corroborated Mr. Etefia’s argument.

The two lawyers said the implication of the court order is that the PDP should not use the ad hoc list of delegates for the party primaries in Akwa Ibom, pending the decision on the case.

Section 84(8) of the 2022 Elections Act appears to have added to the confusion as it does not allow other categories of party members to vote in the primaries except for the three ad hoc delegates and one delegate national.

The legality of Sunday’s PDP primaries in Akwa Ibom state now hinges on the court ruling when the case is heard on May 25.


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