The suit, FHC/OW/CS/121/2018, filed in Federal High Court, Owerri, by Senator Sam Daddy Anyanwu, challenging the election of Chief Emeka Ihedioha, during the gubernatorial primary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has suffered a setback.
The plaintiff sued the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Emeka Ihedioha and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over the outcome of the October 1, 2018, party primary. Anyanwu, who initially prayed the court to hold that the party primary was fraught with irregularities and should be cancelled, later urged the same court to declare him the winner of the contest.
The aggrieved Senator, for the third time, sought leave of the court, to further amend his earlier affidavits already before the court.
In this fresh affidavit which was filed Friday, October 19, 2018, Senator Anyanwu prayed the court to grant the amendments he made on his earlier submissions, but the court preferred giving Chief Ihedioha the opportunity to react to the application, as required by law.
Apart from urging the court to declare him winner of the October 1, 2018, gubernatorial primary of the PDP, Anyanwu equally prayed the court to alter the date for the hearing of the substantive matter from November 19-22, to the last week of October In the fresh affidavit, the plaintiff surreptitiously indicted his counsel for “misrepresenting” his instructions, in the original application, “resulting in the inherent contradictions and amendments”.
Reacting, Chief Ihedioha’s counsel, Prince Ken C. O. Njemanze, SAN, argued that the application was not ripe for hearing. He told the court that going ahead to hear would breach his client’s fundamental right to fair hearing.
Citing Order 26 Rule 5, Njemanze said: ” My Lord, we are not against their filing whatever they want to bring before this honourable court. Our contention however, is that before an application of this nature can come up for hearing, the respondent must be given seven clear days, from the date of filing, to enable us react accordingly.”
Giving a ruling on the arguments by counsel on both sides, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Salihu Mohammed, held that there was merit in the submissions of Njemanze.
Justice Mohammed explained that in taking the decision, he was guided by “the interest of justice and fair hearing”.
He then adjourned the matter to Tuesday, October 30, 2018, for hearing of the application.