Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Saturday, hailed the judgement of a Federal High Court in Enugu which struck out the suit seeking the disqualification of all candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party in Enugu State from taking part in the 2023 elections.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the court made a good decision and labelled the litigants as meddlesome interlopers whose motive is to thwart the democratic process and create chaos and frustrate the peace and stability that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has been trying to achieve in Enugu.
The group also urged the people to be watchful and not allow some unscrupulous elements incite them to civic disturbance or any riot that could affect the electoral process on February 25 and March 11, 2023.
The suit was instituted by the Enugu North Senatorial district candidate of the African Democratic Congress, Chika Idoko, who claimed that the PDP primary election was in contravention of Section 77 of the Electoral Act and should thus be voided, adding that the party should be punished in line with extant provisions of Section 84 of the same Act.
But the defendants, including the PDP, and its guber candidate, Barr. Peter Mbah, National and State Assembly candidates, argued that Idoko being a member of the ADC lacked the locus standi to file the matter, adding that it was also statute-barred, and that the matter was filed out of time.
The presiding judge on Friday, Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo, thereafter said the matter was not statute-barred because it was not filed outside 14 days after the first defendant had published the names of candidates. To this effect, the judge struck out the suit.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The decision of the Federal High Court in Enugu striking out the useless suit by Chika Idoko is commendable. How that a candidate of the African Democratic Congress will institute a suit against the processes at the PDP remains a mystery that only meddlesome interlopers can unravel.
“HURIWA warns Idoko and his co-travellers to mind their business in their various political parties and not cause havoc in another party, in this case, the PDP whose governorship candidate, Peter Mbah is poised to win the March 11, 2023 poll in the state.
“HURIWA urges the people of Enugu to be watchful and not allow anti-democratic elements to create chaos in the state through legal and illegal means. Folks like Idoko should also be watched by security agencies in the days to come.”
February 18, 2023
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.