A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has struck out the suit filed by Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama stopping Governor Godwin Obaseki from participating in today’s governorship primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State.
Counsel for the plaintiff, D.C. Denwigwe, had, upon court resumption of hearing, yesterday, made an oral application informing the court that the parties in the suit had resolved their differences.
Denwigwe told the court that the parties had settled their differences and directed their counsel to withdraw the case. He apologised to the court for the inconveniences the suit had caused and appealed to the court to strike out the matter, based on the oral prayers.
Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem, counsel for the first defendant (PDP chair, Uche Secondus) and third to the seventh defendants, counsel for the second defendant, Higher King, and counsel for the eighth and ninth defendants, Alex Ejesiema, also agreed to the motion moved by Denwigwe.
In his ruling, Justice Emmanuel Obile commended the counsel and parties for settling out of court, saying “it is the proper thing to do” and thereafter struck out the matter following the submission of the counsels.
Earlier, the court had stood down the case for several hours following the parties’ request for out-of-court settlement before reconvening by 2pm.
Ogbeide-Ihama had filed a suit registered in FHC/PH/CS/69/2020, seeking the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to recognise Obaseki as candidate of the party.
Also sued in the matter were Secondus, Emmanuel Ogidi, Kingsley Chinda, Chief Debekeme Boyleyefa, Senator James Manager, Ajibola Muraina, the PDP, Obaseki and INEC.
Another high court in Ekpoma, Edo State, had restrained the PDP from excluding Obaseki from participating in the governorship primary election.
Meanwhile, an aspirant in the election, Kenneth Imansuangbon, has denied rumour that he has accepted $2 million from Obaseki to step down ahead of today’s primary in Benin City for the party’s governorship ticket. Popularly known as Rice Man, Imansuangbon said, contrary to reports, he was still in the race and would not step down for Obaseki.
He stressed that he was in the governorship race to win and not to make up the number of aspirants for the PDP ticket.
He said the rumour of him accepting $2 million from the governor was being spread to sway the votes of delegates in Obaseki’s favour.
“The governor knows I am popular with the delegates and he is doing everything possible to change this. For the sake of emphasis, I have not and will not consider accepting any money for me to step down from the race for the PDP ticket.
“I also understand that they are trying to manipulate the delegates’ list to their favour. I want to warn that, if they try it, we will do everything possible to resist it and we shall meet in the court of law,” he said.
Imansuangbon urged all delegates to come out and vote for him at the primary, promising to wipe away poverty from the state, if elected governor.