Bayelsa poll: Suit seeking to disqualify Diri stalled, adjourned until Feb. 19

Bayelsa State Governor, Diri


The suit seeking the disqualification of Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on Thursday, could not proceed at a Federal High Court, Abuja.

The matter, which was on number 16 on the cause list before Justice Emeka Nwite, was however fixed for Feb. 19, 2024, for hearing.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that less than nine days to the Nov. 11 Bayelsa governorship election, a fresh suit seeking Diri and Ewhrudjakpo’s disqualification commenced before Justice Nwite.

Justice Nwite had, on Nov. 3, fixed today (Nov. 30) for hearing after the judge granted the ex-parte motion moved by plaintiff’s counsel, Ifeanyi Nwosu, seeking a leave to serve Diri and Ewhrudjakpo at the Government House in Bayelsa, through courier service.

The suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1448/23 and filed by a Bayelsan woman, Blessing Clement Azibanagbal through her lawyer, Nsowu, listed Diri, Ewhrudjakpo, PDP and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

The suit sought an order of mandatory injunction, directing INEC to remove the names of Diri and Ewhrudjakpo as PDP’s candidates in the Nov. 11 poll.

It also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC, its agents, privies or whosoever called, from further publishing their names as standard bearers for the party in the forthcoming election in Bayelsa.

It further sought a declaration that Ewhrudjakpo was not qualified to run as deputy governor under the PDP.

Azibanagbal, in the originating summons dated Oct. 26 and filed on Oct. 30, sought a declaration that Ewhrudjakpo was also not qualified to be a running mate with Diri.

Besides, she prayed the court to declare that Ewhrudjakpo had multiple of names without any evidence to proof “that he is the same person.”

She, therefore, urged the court to declare that the PDP had no candidate in the poll.

But the PDP, in a notice of preliminary objection dated Nov. 28 and filed Nov. 30 through its lawyer, A.K. Ajibade, SAN, prayed the court to dismiss or strike out the suit for being statue-barred.

It also urged the court to dismiss the suit for not disclosing reasonable cause of action against the defendants.

Giving five grounds, the PDP argued that Azibanagbal’s case was founded on pre-election matter and the time prescribed by the constitution to initiate such suit had elapsed.

It argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine a suit that was already statute-barred.

“This honourable court lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine a suit where and when the plaintiff’s suit failed to disclose cause of action and/or reasonable cause of action,” it said.(NAN)

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