On Thursday, a Federal High Court in Abuja invalidated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election that produced Asue Ighodalo as the party’s candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.

In his judgment, Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled that the PDP’s primary held on February 22 failed to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, the guidelines for the conduct of the poll, and the party’s constitution. Justice Ekwo noted that Exhibit PDP 1, presented by the party, lacked substantial evidence, while the plaintiffs, through their exhibits, successfully established their case against the defendants.

The judge pointed out that the returning officers who prepared the result sheets appeared to have manufactured the poll’s outcome without proper procedure. Additionally, the exclusion of 381 delegates, including the plaintiffs, was found to be contrary to legal provisions.

Despite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the first defendant, filing a memorandum of appearance, the commission did not submit any process in the case. The counsel for INEC stated that the commission would abide by the court’s decision.

“I found that the case of the plaintiffs succeeds on merit,” Justice Ekwo concluded.

Three aggrieved ad-hoc delegates, representing 378 others, had sued INEC, the PDP, its national secretary, and the vice chairman (South-South) as the first to fourth defendants, respectively.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/165/2024, dated February 7 but filed on February 8, the plaintiffs sought two orders. These included a directive for the defendants to justify why the plaintiffs’ reliefs should not be granted, given the plan of the PDP officials to exclude them and 378 other delegates, whose names and election results were included in “Exhibits BID 8A to 8L,” from participating in the February 22 primaries in Edo.

The plaintiffs, including Hon. Kelvin Mohammed, Mr. Gabriel Okoduwa, and Mr. Ederaho Osagie, argued that granting their reliefs would be in the interest of justice.