By Amb. Tony Okonigene

In my journey through the muddy waters of the Nigerian political terrains, I have come across various degrees of desperation by politicians to deliver and have their ways but non can be compared with that being displayed by the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorcha Ayu concerning the candidates of the Edo State PDP.

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Let me shock you with this latest development. In the Federal High Court sitting in Benin in the suit instituted by Hon. Mathew Iduoyerekwenmen and others against the candidates of the Legacy PDP, they have suddenly declared that the Adhoc delegates of the Legacy PDP were the ones that voted for the governor’s candidates. Can you beat that!!!?

Why the sudden U-turn?

Recall that the adhoc delegates nominated by the governor went to The Edo State High Court to seek judicial recognition. Against all expectations, the state high court delivered a judgement in their favour on the 18th of May , 2022. However, on the 21st of May. 2022, The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin , threw out the judgement. In disobedience to the Appeal Court’s judgment, the governor’s group went ahead to use the invalid delegates to conduct their primaries on the 22nd and 23rd of May, 2022.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on the 25th of May, 2022, delivered a landmark judgement declaring the adhoc delegates of the Legacy PDP as the authentic delegates of the party. The court further ordered INEC not to accept or recognize any candidate not voted or nominated by the delegates of the Legacy PDP.

Dr Ayu and his group Appealed against the judgement of the Federal High Court to the Court of Appeal, Abuja while the governor’s group Appealed against the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Benin to the Supreme court.

The candidates of the governor also instituted a suit against INEC in The Federal High Court Benin, asking to be recognized as the authentic candidates of the party. The Court granted the request of the PDP Legacy candidates to be joined in the suit.

After the statutory 60 days, the Supreme Court endorsed the judgement of the Appeal Court , Benin by refusing to hear the case. This effectively nullified the adhoc delegates of the governor’s group. In effect, any primary purported to have been conducted by the adhoc delegates of the governor’s group amounts to a nullity.

Realizing this, in a move described as a judicial novelty by legal pundits, the governor’s group with the support of the National Chairman, substituted the names of their adhoc delegates with that of the adhoc delegates of the Legacy PDP, in their pending case in The Federal High Court, Benin.. This action surprised the lawyers and candidates of the Legacy PDP. How can you now be claiming the delegates you rejected from the onset?

The action of the governor’s group and Dr. Ayu only testifies one truth. That is, they know that they have been wrong right from the onset. If you do not have legitimate delegates, how can you have candidates. The courts have long declared that delegates are the bedrock of candidates. You cannot build something on nothing and expect it to stand. It will surely collapse.

Notwithstanding the recent pronouncement of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, the only legitimate delegates of the Edo State PDP in the eyes of the law, INEC, the Legacy PDP and even the governor’s group are the ones produced by the Legacy PDP. Only legitimate delegates can produce legitimate candidates.

Dr. Iyorchia Ayu should save us the expenses and suspense of waiting for the obvious decision of the Supreme Court by uploading the names of the candidates of the Legacy PDP into the INEC candidates portal. In any case, they are the only candidates that can be accepted by INEC without the interference of the Supreme Court.

Taking advantage of this confusion caused by Dr. Iyorchia Ayu in Edo PDP, the ADC and APC, have taken INEC and the candidates of the Legacy PDP to court asking to disqualify the candidates of the Edo PDP from taking part in the 2023 elections since the party did not have legitimate delegates to have produced legitimate candidates.

Things are still within the domestic affairs of the party.

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