The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has sacked the senator-elect for Delta North Senatorial District on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Nwaoboshi.
In his place, the court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the name of Ned Nwoko as candidate of the PDP, having established the fact before the court that he scored majority of the lawful votes at the primary election.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, who delivered the judgment, yesterday, held that Nwaoboshi, who is a serving senator was not the winner of the October 2, 2018 PDP primary, held to select candidate for the 2019 general election.
The court also barred Nwaoboshi from parading himself as the candidate of the PDP for the senatorial zone.
The judge had earlier dismissed preliminary objections filed by the defendants, including the one challenging its jurisdiction to adjudicate on the dispute.
In a suit filed by his counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), Nwoko, who listed INEC, PDP and the sacked senator as defendants, asked the court for an order to stop the electoral body from publishing or further publishing the name of Nwaoboshi as the candidate for Delta North senatorial district.
Nwoko also asked for another order compelling the PDP to forward his name to INEC as the authentic candidate of the party for the senatorial district in the 2019 general election.
The plaintiff predicated his suit on seven grounds which were supported by a 20-paragraph affidavit and five exhibits, and claimed that he was screened and cleared for the Delta North senatorial district by the PDP electoral committee.
He claimed, among others, that at the end of the primary election, he scored 453 votes to defeat his closest rival, Nwaoboshi, who scored 405, while Paul Osaji came third with 216 votes.
Nwoko, however, claimed that to his surprise, the PDP jettisoned the result of the primary election and forwarded Nwaoboshi’s name as its candidate for the senatorial district.
He disclosed that all efforts to redress the injustice through the party’s appeal panel were unsuccessful.
In their defense, the respondents attacked the suit of the plaintiff on the grounds that it was statute barred, since it was not filed within the 14 days provided for by law.
Subsequently, Justice Mohammed, having held that the plaintiff had established that he won the October 2, 2018 primary, is entitled to his claim and, consequently, granted the relief sought by Nwoko.