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EXTRA: Suit challenging PDP presidential primary stalled as lawyer ‘suffers stomach upset’

EXTRA: Suit challenging PDP presidential primary stalled as lawyer ‘suffers stomach upset’
September 14
16:35 2022

A suit challenging the outcome of the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was stalled at a federal high court in Abuja on Wednesday.

When the case was called, Wilfred Okoi, counsel to the plaintiff, was not in the courtroom to announce his appearance.

Upon inquiry by the judge who noted that the lawyer had entered his name in the cause list, Michael Ekamon, the first plaintiff in the suit, told the court that the lawyer developed “serious stomach upset”.

According to him, the lawyer was in court earlier but after he complained of stomach upset, he had to leave to get treatment.

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“I insisted that he stayed, but he said we should rush him down,” Ekamon said.

Responding, Ahmed Mohammed, the presiding judge, said: “We wish him a quick recovery. We are all human beings and prone to getting sick at any given time.”

The judge then asked Ekamon what would be his prayer since his lawyer was not in court.

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“I pray the court to give us a little time so that he can get well and continue with the matter,” he said.

Mahmud Magaji, counsel for the defendants, did not oppose the request for an adjournment.

“I have listened to the request of the first plaintiff. The reason for the absence of his counsel borders on ill health,” Magaji said.

“We don’t need to go verifying. It can happen to anybody as my lord has said. But we want the court to take notice because this is a pre-election matter of which time is of the essence.”

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The judge adjourned the matter until October 7.

At the presidential primary in May, Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, secured 371 votes to become the PDP’s standard-bearer, while Nyesom Wike, Rivers governor, came second with 237 votes.

Meanwhile, before voting started at the primary, Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto, who had also contested the presidential ticket, stepped down and asked his supporters to back Abubakar.

Following the presidential primary, a lawsuit was instituted by some supporters of the Rivers governor.

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In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022, the plaintiffs are asking the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove Abubakar from the list of candidates for the 2023 presidential election.

While the PDP is the first defendant, INEC, Tambuwal, and Atiku are second to fourth defendants, respectively, in the suit.

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Although Wike has denied being involved in the matter, he is listed as the second plaintiff in the suit dated June 2 and filed on June 3.

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