From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court has struck out the appeal bordering on the internal crisis of the Cross River State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) bordering on the wards and local government chapters held by the Governor Ben Ayade’s faction of the party for lacking in merit.
The Supreme court in a unanimous decision affirmed the authenticity of the party executive in the state , and the list of delegates that produced Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as the authentic candidate of PDP in the December 5, 2020 by-election for cross river north senatorial seat.
A faction of the party loyal to governor Ben Ayade had approached the Supreme Court to upturn an earlier decision of an Appeal court which affirmed the present executive of the party in the state as the authentic leadership.
However, the apex court ruled that the leadership of the PDP acted within its powers in conducting the party primary that produced the current members of the National Assembly.
The ruling of the apex court may have put to rest the lingering controversy over who was actually the PDP in the December 5, 2021 bye election for cross river state.
The decision of the Supreme Court on Wednesday came barely a week after the Appeal court in Abuja had affirmed the judgment of A federal High court which affirmed Hon Jarigbe as the authentic candidate of the PDP in the December 5 bye election for Cross River north.
The judgment was seen as a major victory for the current members of the National Assembly from the state including Hon Jarigbe .
Sun was told that it was the same party executive that produced the list of delegates used for the conduct of party primaries in the state .
The affirmed delegates list used for the December by-election which the lower court had earlier affirmed also produced Hon Jarigbe as PDP candidate .
Recalled that the parallel congresses of the party held in the state has produced factional wards and local government chapter executives who are loyal to Governor Ayade and some National Assembly members.
Given the unpleasant situation, the National Working Committee (NWC), had through a letter signed by Col. Austin Akobundu (rted) and dated April 26, 2020, ratified the authentic list for Ward and local government executives for all the 196 wards and 18 local government councils after giving a careful consideration of the reports of the Electoral Committee and the appeal panel of the National Working Committee.
However, the crisis continued as two delegates’ lists emerged ahead of Cross River northern senatorial district primaries.
Following the development, Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency and one of the senatorisl aspirants then, approached the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt division, in suit no. FHC/PH/CS/125/2020, to ask for declarations touching on the validity of which list was to be used at the primariy election.
The suit was filed in Port Harcourt because the courts where on vacation at that time, and the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court had the jurisdiction to hear matters from Cross River State during the period of the courts’ vacation.
The court granted Hon Jarigbe’s reliefs, as it found that, the lists of delegates presented by him were the ones authenticated by INEC and approved by the National Organising Secretary of PDP.
The judgment was appealed against, and the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt affirmed the decision of the lower Court.