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Court Reinstates Tebite As Validly Elected Candidate of PDP
*Orders Immediate Inclusion Of His Name In INEC Portal
*Restrains Ahwinahwi From Parading Self As PDP Candidate
By Sunday Apah
The Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has declared Hon. Taleb Tebite as the validly elected Peoples Democratic Party House of Representatives Candidate for Ughelli North/Ughelli South/Udu Federal Constituency in the forthcoming general elections.
The presiding judge, Honourable Justice Folashade Olubanjo, delivered the judgment on suit number FHC/ASB/CS/105/2022 filed by Hon. Taleb Tebite as the plaintiff, Peoples Democratic Party – 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission – 2nd defendant and Hon. Solomon Ahwinahwi – 3rd defendant.
One of the counsels to the plaintiff, John Okoriko Esq, in a chat with journalists after the judgment, explained that the court held that Tebite had the locus standi to file the case because he was an aspirant in the primary election, held on May 22, 2022.
Okoriko explained that the court, while delivering its judgement, posited that “Tebite, having won the first primary election, the Appeal Panel of PDP ought not to have cancelled the election when there were no complaints and violence and the result declared.”
“The appeal panel does not have the power to nullify the victory of somebody who won either primary or the main election.
“Even the nullification of the victory of Tebite by the PDP, there was no evidence to show that Tebite was invited by the PDP Appeal Panel to hear from him about the purported irregularities in the election before going ahead to cancel the election was a violation of Tebite right to fair hearing.
“The purported primary election that was conducted on May 30, 2022 where Hon. Solomon Ahwinahwi was declared as the winner was a sham.
“The court held that the fact that Tebite did not participate in the rerun and therefore does not have the power to question the rerun, and that the argument by Ahwinahwi does not hold water because the cases cited by Ahwinahwi; it was only one election that was conducted, but in this case, PDP conducted two separate elections, one was conducted on May 22 and the other on May 30, 2022. So the cited cases does not apply to this case.
“The court stated that there are Supreme Court authorities to the effect that assuming Tebite had participated in the rerun, that is when Taleb could have been seen to have waved his right in respect of the first election.
“But in this case, he did not participate in the said rerun. So, he has the right to challenge the purported rerun which they used to nullify the victory that he got in the first election,” he clarified.
“The court therefore ordered PDP to forward the name of Tebite to INEC as their candidate for Ughelli North/Ughelli South/Udu Federal Constituency and that INEC should accept the name of Tebite as the candidate of PDP for Ughelli North/Ughelli South/Udu Federal Constituency.
“INEC should open its portal, remove the name of Hon. Solomon Ahwinahwi and replace it with the name of Hon. Taleb Tebite as the candidate of PDP
“Ahwinahwi was restrained from parading himself as the purported candidate of PDP in the forthcoming 2023 election into Ughelli North/Ughelli South/Udu Federal Constituency . PDP was also restrained from parading the name of Ahwinahwi as its candidate for the forthcoming 2023 election,” he added.
In reaction to the judgment, Hon. Taleb Tebite thanked the electorate for their unrelenting doggedness and belief in the struggle for justice, equity and fair-play in the PDP.
He said the Nigerian judicial system has clearly demonstrated that it is a beacon of hope for Nigerians.
“This is a victory for us as a party and I seize the opportunity to call on all those that contested with me, expecially those with whom we were in litigation, to put the past behind us so that collectively, we can ensure that we win the elections for the PDP.
“To our numerous supporters, I want to sincerely thank you for keeping faith and believing in me towards ensuring that our constituency benefits from the dividends of democracy.
“In this case, I wish to state clearly that there is no victor or vanquished. Our doors have been open and shall remain open for all and sundry in this quest for the upliftment of the living standard of the great people of our constituency.
“I thank the entire leaders of our party, especially the the state governor for ensuring internal democracy in our party, our constituents and indeed all Deltans for their support and show of love in this electioneering process”, he added.