A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise the executive committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State led by Chief Felix Amaechi Obuah.
The Obuah-led exco is the one that is loyal to the Minister for Education, Nyesom Wike.
This is the second victory for the Obuah-led executive because an Abuja High Court had earlier declared it the properly constituted executive to manage the PDP affairs in the state.
Justice Stephen Chukwu also barred the PDP and INEC from accepting candidates for elections from any other group other than those produced by the current PDP leadership in the state.
Consequently, the court barred the National Secretariat of the PDP from holding or conducting any congress for the purpose of selecting or recognising new leaders until the expiration of the four-year tenure of the Obuah-led executives.
The suit was instituted by the PDP Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr. Chukwuemeka Aaron, against INEC, the PDP and Obuah.
Justice Chukwu restrained INEC or any of its officers from monitoring or supervising any congress in the state and from accepting any list of candidates for elections except those provided by the current party leadership in the state.
The plaintiff had asked the court to enforce the judgment of the Abuja High Court of April 13, 2013 which upheld the congress that produced the leadership of Obuah as the PDP executive committee in the state.
Justice Chukwu held that the Abuja High Court verdict delivered by Justice Ishaq Bello subsisted and must be obeyed by all parties in the suit unless it was set aside by a higher court.
The judge agreed with Professor Tony Ijohor (SAN), counsel to the plaintiff that the Abuja High Court judgment was binding since there was no order of stay of its execution by any court of competent record.
Justice Chukwu also agreed with the counsel that since all the averments of the plaintiff in his affidavit in support of the originating summon were not challenged by the defendants, they remained uncontroverted and strongly believed by the court and ordered that only documents emanating from the Obuah-executive should be accepted as official and authentic by the INEC and PDP.
Earlier, Justice Chukwu had dismissed five different applications brought by some PDP members in the state seeking to be joined in the suit.
The judge dismissed the motions for lacking in merit and for constituting gross abuse of court processes since the applicants failed to show how the outcome of the plaintiff’s suit would affect them.
Justice Chukwu agreed with Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), counsel to the third defendant, that it was not enough to seek to be joined or be imposed on a litigant in a case except where vested interest have been established for court to protect.