PDP Wants Judge Sanctioned for Order against Obaseki

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to sanction Justice E. A Obile of the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court for allegedly assuming wrong jurisdiction on a case which sought to bar the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, from participating in Thursday’s Primary election of the party.

The party also asked that the Chief judge of the Federal High Court should be advised to reassign the suit to a judge of the Federal High Court sitting at the Abuja Division of the Court.

A suit instituted by one of the governorship aspirants of the PDP, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, had asked the court to bar Obaseki from participating in the forthcoming PDP primary election of the PDP for Edo State. 

A major reason stated by Mr Ogbeide-Ihama was that Mr Obaseki recently joined the party and only those who purchased the forms during the stipulated window should be allowed to participate in the primary election.

Mr Ogbeide-Ihama also prayed that the primaries be put on hold pending when the court would hear the motion on notice.

The judge, E. A Obile, however, did not grant that prayer. The judge asked that the motion seeking to bar Mr Obaseki be served on the defendants including Mr Obaseki via newspaper publication.

But in a petition sent to the CJN on Tuesday, the PDP specifically requested that “immediate disciplinary action be commenced against Hon. Justice E.A. Obile of the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court for invidiously assuming jurisdiction and taking sides in the political conflict in Edo State with a view to disrupting the political process”

The petition, which was signed by Dakzel Longii Shamnas, an official of the legal department of the PDP, alleged that Justice Obile “did not approach the matter with circumspection, thereby playing into the hands of politicians.”

According to the petition, Obile ought to have declined jurisdiction on the matter because “the headquarters of the PDP is in Abuja. The screening of candidates for the gubernatorial election which the plaintiff is complaining of in the suit took place in Abuja. The headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is in Abuja.

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