In a significant legal development, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja has nullified the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election that resulted in the emergence of Asue Ighodalo as the party’s candidate for the forthcoming Edo State governorship election.

The court’s ruling, delivered on Thursday, cited the failure of the PDP’s primary election on February 22 to adhere to the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, the guidelines for the conduct of the poll, and the party’s constitution.

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The judgment, which followed a lawsuit brought by aggrieved ad-hoc delegates, highlighted the exclusion of 381 delegates, including the plaintiffs, from participating in the primary election. Justice Ekwo emphasized that the evidence presented by the plaintiffs established their case against the defendants, underscoring the irregularities that marred the electoral process.

The ruling has sparked a wave of reactions, with the Edo State Chapter of the PDP urging party members to remain calm despite the court’s decision. The state party chairman, Tony Aziegbemi, affirmed that Asue Ighodalo remains the party’s candidate for the September 21 governorship election in the state, despite the court’s ruling.

The legal battle surrounding the PDP’s governorship primary election has been marked by a series of lawsuits and counterclaims. Notably, two separate suits challenging Ighodalo’s candidacy were previously struck out by the Federal High Court in Abuja, with the court holding that the plaintiffs lacked the legal right to institute the action.

The implications of the court’s decision are far-reaching, as it has injected fresh uncertainty into the political landscape ahead of the Edo State governorship election. The ruling has underscored the need for adherence to electoral laws and party guidelines, emphasizing the critical role of due process in the democratic process.

The legal contestation surrounding the PDP’s primary election underscores the significance of transparent and fair electoral processes in upholding the integrity of the democratic system. As the political climate in Edo State becomes increasingly charged, it is essential for all stakeholders to prioritize adherence to legal and constitutional provisions to ensure a credible and inclusive electoral process.

The court’s decision has set the stage for a potentially protracted legal and political battle, with implications for the PDP’s preparations for the upcoming governorship election. As the situation unfolds, it is imperative for all parties involved to uphold the rule of law and respect the judicial process, fostering an environment conducive to free, fair, and transparent elections.

The ruling has reignited debates about the internal dynamics of political parties and the need for robust mechanisms to ensure the integrity of their internal electoral processes. It serves as a reminder of the pivotal role of the judiciary in safeguarding the democratic principles of accountability, transparency, and adherence to the rule of law.

The legal developments surrounding the PDP’s governorship primary election in Edo State underscore the imperative of upholding the sanctity of electoral processes and the need for all stakeholders to demonstrate a commitment to the principles of fairness, justice, and democratic governance.