Imo: Court strikes out suit seeking to nullify PDP Congresses, “Court has not power to delve into intra-party matters”

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Imo State High Court sitting in Owerri, Monday, struck out a suit filed by Patrick Agukwe & 2 Others VS. PDP & 17 Others in Suit No. HOW/220/2020, seeking the nullification of Imo PDP State Congresses conducted between March-August, 2020.

Delivering his ruling, Hon. Justice E. F. Njemanze, held that the suit hinged on the allegation that they and their supporters were denied access to buying nomination forms to participate in the PDP Ward Congresses held in Mach, 14th 2020 as it affects Oru East, Orlu and Orsu Federal Constituency.

The Court held that the grievances of the Plaintiffs were intra-party matters which the Court has no powers to delve into.

The learned Jurist ruled that the Courts have decided in plethora of cases held that the Courts have no business adjudicating on matters relating to the internal management and leadership of a political party unless where a party goes against its own constitution.

The Court further held that in the extant case, the Plaintiffs did not show from their Statement of Claim that there was any serious breach of the PDP Constitution in the conduct of the Congresses; rather they were disputing matters within the purview of the party to decide and determine.

Citing various provisions of the PDP Constitution, the Court found that the Constitution provided adequate remedies for any member who is aggrieved by the decision or action of any level of the party to appeal to the upper level of the party.

The Court also cited the provisions of the PDP Constitution that states that parties must exhaust the internal mechanisms for dispute resolution before seeking remedies in our regular Courts. It found further that there was nowhere in the affidavit of the Plaintiffs where they adduced even the minutest evidence that they complied with the provisions of their own party constitution.

The Court therefore rejected their suit as an attempt to jump the gun and held that the Court lacks jurisdiction to dabble into the internal affairs of political parties.

The Court struck out the suit and awarded cost of N20, 000 against the plaintiffs. N. N Nnawuchi Esq. appeared for the PDP while C. K Okorie Esq appeared for the Plaintiffs.

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