By Akinwale Akintunde
Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary and governorship aspirant in the last primary election in Cross River State, Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi has dragged the party to court over allegation of his exclusion from participating at the governorship primaries in the state.
Agrrieved by the actions of the party and others which deprived him of the opportunity to contest governorship of Cross River State, he filed the suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja, asking the court to nullify the governorship primary elections, which produced the incumbent governor, Ben Ayade as the winner.
Joined as 2nd and 3rd defendants in the suit apart from PDP are Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ayade and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the fundamental human rights suit, the plaintiff is seeking a court declaration that his purported disqualification from contesting the party primary election conducted in September 29, 2018, was in breach of his constitutional right to fair hearing and void.
Ibeshi is praying the court to declare his disqualification from the governorship primary elections as breach of the electoral guidelines, party constitution and contravened electoral laws of Nigeria, thus wrongful and void.
The plaintiff is asking the court to declare that the 1st defendant (PDP), having collected huge money from him as price for sale of governorship nomination forms and ancillary expenses, was bound in contract to give a fair chance to contest for the stated office, and his exclusion from the contest without just cause was in breach of his contractual obligations.
The aspirant is also praying the court to declare that the purported emergence of Ayade as the PDP governorship candidate in Cross River State, from the unconstitutional process that excluded him was illegal, and void under the law.
The plaintiff wants the court to set aside his disqualification and ordered for proper conduct of the party primary elections between him and the purported winner of the September 29 primary elections, Ayade. Ibeshi is also seeking an order of the court restraining INEC from accepting or acting the submission of Ayade’s name by PDP as the governorship candidate for Cross River State for the 2019 governorship elections.
The plaintiff in the alternative, is seeking damages in the sum of one billion naira against the defendants for breach of fundamental right to fair hearing.
He also wants the court to award him N194 million being cost of nomination form and campaign expenses incured prior to his disqualification from the election by the party.