By Favour Goodness
Mr Zeribe Ezeanuna, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirant in the Nov. 6 Anambra state governorship election, has sued the party for wrongful exclusion.
Also sued are the National Chairman of the party, Chief Uche Secondus and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for allegedly forcing him to pay N5m compliance fee before he could participate in the party primary of June 26.
Joined in the suit pending at the Federal High Court, Awka were the national organizing secretary of the party, Col Austin Akobundu (rtd) and the Anambra State chairman of the party, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu.
Ezeanuna is also claiming N50m from each of the four defendants as damages for infringing on his human rights and discrimination on the basis of gender.
Rights lawyer and counsel for the plaintiff, Dr. Jezie Ekejiuba dragged the defendants to court via an ex parte order, asking for interim injunction restraining them, their privies, servants, agents and those they represent from proceeding to conduct the PDP governorship primary scheduled for June 26, 2021 or any other date, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
Ekejiuba in suit No FHC/AWK/CS/29/2021, is asking the court presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba to declare that the imposition of payment of what he called ‘commercialized and prohibitive’ fee of N5m by PDP and its officials on his client as pre-condition for his participation in the pre-primary election was unknown to the electoral guidelines for gubernatorial elections.
He prayed the court to declare that the refusal by the defendants to allow his client to pay the sum of N1m to obtain the PDP expression of interest and nomination forms as the female and richer aspirants was discriminatory against the plaintiff as it infringed on his fundamental right to freedom from discrimination under Section 42 (1) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended.
He argued that the discriminatory provision of N1m for women on the basis of sex and N21m expression of interest and nomination forms fee for men on the basis of sex was inconsistent with the provisions of Section 42(1) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended and therefore inoperative, null and void.
Ekejiuba said the unilateral imposition of payment totaling N26m by PDP and its officials against the plaintiff as pre-condition for his participation in the pre-primary election is in conflict with the plaintiff’s constitutional right to qualification for election as Governor of Anambra State under Section 177(a) (b) (c) and (d) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
He urged the court to set aside, nullify and void the outcome of the PDP primaries because of the wrongful exclusion and prevention of the plaintiff ab initio from participating in it.
He prayed the court to direct INEC to exclude PDP candidate who would emerge from its primary from the list of nominated candidates for the November 6, 2021 Anambra State governorship election for wrongfully excluding and preventing his client from participating in it.
Ekejiuba called for an order of perpetual injunction restraining PDP from further violating or infringing the plaintiff’s fundamental right to freedom from discrimination and constitutional right to qualification for election as Governor of Anambra State.
He asked the court to direct each of the four defendants of PDP to pay N50m to the plaintiff as compensatory and general damages for violating or infringing his fundamental right to freedom from discrimination and constitutional right to qualification for election as Governor of Anambra State.
“The issues raised in this suit are complaints against violation of the plaintiff’s right to freedom from discrimination as well as his constitutional right protected under the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended and non-compliance with the provisions.