By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal by a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ndutimi Alaibe in which he challenged the declaration of Governor Douye Diri as the winner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held on September 3, 2019 for lacking in merit.
The former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) Timi Alaibe, is challenging the eligibility, validity and legality of Senator Diri’s emergence as flagbearer of the PDP.
He urged the court to nullify Diri’s candidature on grounds that it was illegally, inappropriately and ineligibly procured and to declare him winner on the ground that he complied with the eligibility and legal requirements known to law and the party guidelines for emergence of governorship candidates.
The fulcrum on his case is that the PDP consequently committed electoral, and constitutional illegality by blatantly allowing local government chairmen, councilors, and all shades of ineligible persons to vote during the PDP governorship primaries in sharp contrast, and utter violation of the party’s guidelines which do not permit elected chairmen and councilors elected within 90 days to the election, to vote during governorship primaries.
However, a five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.
Counsel to Alaibe, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), withdrew the appeal after the apex court drew his attention to the fact that the issues raised in the appeal bordered on the internal affairs of the party.
It was the position of the apex court, after a diligent inquisition into the appeal that it did not fall within the purview of a pre-election matter but an internal affairs of a political party which it has no jurisdiction to entertain.
Adedipe then withdrew the suit and was struck out by the court after counsel to the respondents including that of the People’s Democratic Party, Emmanuel Enoedem and Governor Diri, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), raised no objection to the withdrawal.
Before heading to the Supreme Court, Aliabe had suffered defeat at both the Owerri division as well as the Court of Appeal.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the Appeal Court, Alaibe approached the apex court where he prayed the court to declare him the duly elected governor of Bayelsa State.
Alaibe had earlier file a suit at the Federal High Court, Yenogoa, seeking, among other things the outright cancellation of the results of the PDP primaries that produced Diri because it is illegal, a violation of all known electoral laws, party guidelines and INEC were among the defendants in the suit.