Friday, June 3, 2011

Court returns Eyiboh to House of Representatives

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday returned Eseme Eyiboh, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Eket/Ibeno/Esit/Onna federal constituency of Akwa Ibom State in the House of Representatives.

Eyibo, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Information, had challenged the victory of Bassey Dan-Abia at the party primaries conducted on January 28.

In his ruling, Justice Abdul Kafarati held that the process that brought in Dan-Abia grossly violated Section 4(c) of the Electoral Act and the PDP Constitution. He said that the defendants agreed in their statements of defence to have conducted the primaries in Uyo instead of Eket.

He held that the defendants also failed to counter the averment of the plaintiff which copiously proved that the majority of the delegates adopted him as their representative.

Kafarati explained that evidence was before the court to show the majority of the delegates’ endorsement letter to the national office of the party.

“In view of the following, the suit is upheld and all the motions brought against it by the defendants are hereby struck out,” he said. “The primaries which selected Bassey Dan-Abia as the representative of the PDP to contest the April general election is hereby cancelled; and Eseme Eyiboh is therefore returned in his place.”

Earlier, Dan-Abia’s Notice of Preliminary Objection application against the mode of commencement and the motion on transfer of the main suit filed by Dan-Abia were struck out for lack of merit.

The applicant (Eyiboh) had approached the court seeking the annulment of the election of Dan-Abia as the party’s candidate for the election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), PDP and Dan-Abia were the respondents in the matter.

Wole Olanipekun, counsel to Eyiboh, urged the court to rule in favour of his client as the party machinery agreed in its defence that it conducted the rerun in Uyo. He said the Electoral Act made it mandatory to conduct party primaries to select candidates for National Assembly seats in constituency headquarters.

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