By Amby Uneze
A High Court in Owerri, Imo State capital, yesterday struck out a suit filed by Mr. Patrick Agukwe and two others against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and 17 others, who sought the nullification of the state PDP congresses conducted between March and August 2020.
Delivering his ruling in suit number: HOW/220/2020, Justice E. F. Njemanze held that the suit is centred on the allegation that they and their supporters were denied access to buy nomination forms to participate in the PDP ward congresses held in March14, 2020, as it affects Oru East, Orlu and Orsu federal constituency.
The court held that the grievances of the plaintiffs were intra-party matters, which the court has no powers to delve into. The learned Judge ruled that the courts have decided in plethora of cases held that they have no business adjudicating on matters relating to the internal management and leadership of a political party unless where a party goes against its own constitution.
The court further held that in the extant case, the plaintiffs did not show from their statement of claim that there was any serious breach of the PDP constitution in the conduct of the congresses, rather, they were disputing matters within the purview of the party to decide and determine.
Citing various provisions of the PDP constitution, the court found that the constitution provided adequate remedies for any member who is aggrieved by the decision or action at any level of the party to appeal to the upper level of the party.
The court also cited the provisions of the PDP constitution that states that parties must exhaust the internal mechanisms for dispute resolution before seeking remedies in regular courts. It found further that there was nowhere in the affidavit of the plaintiffs where they adduced even the minutest evidence that they complied with the provisions of their own party constitution.
The Judge, therefore, rejected their suit as an attempt to jump the gun, and held that the court lacks jurisdiction to dabble into the internal affairs of political parties.
He struck out the suit and awarded cost of N20,000 against the plaintiffs, and N. N Nnawuchi, who appeared for the PDP and C. K Okorie, who appeared for the plaintiffs.