The Peoples Democratic Party on Friday challenged the jurisdiction of a Federal High Court in Abuja to summon it over its forthcoming presidential primary election.
The PDP in a Notice of Preliminary Objection filed by its lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), said the subject matter of the case, which bordered on whether to zone its presidential ticket to any part of the country, was not an issue for the court to decide because it is an internal affair.
Justice Donatus Okorowo of a Federal High Court in Abuja, had last Thursday, ordered the PDP to appear before it on May 5, to explain why the request of one of its presidential aspirants to stop the scheduled primary election for the selection of the party’s candidate in the 2023 presidential election should not be granted.
A presidential aspirant of the party and former Deputy Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Cosmas Ndukwe, had brought an application for an order of injunction restraining the PDP from proceeding with its scheduled primary, pending the hearing and determination of his suit challenging the position of the PDP on the issue of zoning the party’s presidential ticket.
The PDP, its national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, Senator Samuel Anyanwu and the Independent National Electoral Commission were listed as respondents in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/508/2022.
Rather than grant the request, the judge ordered that the PDP appear before it and show cause why the court should not accede to the plaintiff’s demand.
But in a swift response, the PDP on Friday asked the court to strike out the suit for want of jurisdiction and also dismiss it for being statute-barred. The defendants said, “The cause of action in the suit relates to the internal affairs of a political party and therefore, falls within the doctrine of political questions which are non-justiciable,” adding that as such, the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain it.
On the issue of statute-barred, the PDP averred that the cause of action arose from the PDP National Zoning Committee communique of April 5 whereas the plaintiff’s suit was filed on April 19 (15 days after) in violation of Section 285 of the Constitution which provides for 14 days to file such cases.
While arguing that the plaintiff lacked the necessary legal right to initiate the case, the PDP submitted that no civil right of the plaintiff had been wrong pursuant to Section 6 (6) of the Constitution.
The party, therefore, asked the court to uphold its objection and dismiss the case of the plaintiff, adding that the plaintiff would not be prejudiced or suffer any hardship if the case was dismissed.