A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the Nation’s Capital, has sacked Senator Peter Nwaoboshi as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the February 23rd National Assembly Election in Delta North Senatorial District.
The court in its ruling on Wednesday, however, declared Prince Ned Nwoko as the winner of the PDP Delta North Senatorial Primaries conducted on October 2nd, 2018 in Asaba, the Delta State Capital.
Senator Nwaoboshi had won the PDP ticket for Delta North having polled 506 votes to defeat his major rival, Hon. Nwoko, who scored 442 votes while Arc. Paul came third with 216 votes in the primary election.
Presiding Judge of the Abuja Federal High Court, Hon. Justice A. R Mohammed while delivering judgement in the suit filed by Nwoko, said the plaintiff won the Delta North PDP as against Nwoaboshi who was declared winner.
Justice Mohammed noted that from all available evidences before the court, prince Nwoko convincingly won the primary election held on 2nd October 2018.
UPDATE FROM NAN
The court held that Nwaoboshi, a serving senator, was not the duly elected candidate of the PDP in the primary election.
Justice Mohammed ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to publish the name of Nwoko as PDP candidate, having established before the court that he scored the highest number of votes in the said primary election.
The court also barred Nwaoboshi from parading himself as the candidate of the PDP for the senatorial zone.
Nwoko, through his counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, had sued INEC, the PDP and the Nwaoboshi, praying for an order to prohibit the electoral body from publishing the name of Nwaoboshi as the candidate for Delta North Senatorial District.
He also asked for a separate order compelling PDP to forward his name to INEC as the authentic candidate of the PDP for the senatorial area.
In his suit predicated on seven grounds, 20-paragraph affidavit evidence and five exhibits, Nwoko claimed that he was screened and cleared to contest the primary election by the PDP electoral committee.
He also claimed that at the end of the election, he scored 453 votes to beat Nwaoboshi to second position, having scored 405 votes; while another contestant, Paul Osaji, came third with 216 votes.
Nwoko told the court that he was surprised that the PDP jettisoned the result of the primary election and forwarded the name of Nwaoboshi to INEC as its candidate for the senatorial district.
He further alleged that all efforts to redress the injustice through the PDP appeal panel proved abortive.
In their defence, the three respondents — INEC, PDP and Nwaoboshi — urged the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that it was not filed within time allowed by law.
They said that based on that ground, the suit was status-barred and also constituted an abuse of court process, the plaintiff having filed a similar suit at the FCT High Court which was struck out upon its withdrawal.
Justice Mohammed, after reviewing the claims and counter-claims of parties, held that the case of the plaintiff was not status-barred and did not also amount to “forum shopping” as alleged by the defendants.
The judge held that Nwoko was entitled to his claims and prayers, having established that he emerged victorious in the PDP Delta North Senatorial primary election of October 2, 2018.