Tuesday, December 23, 2014 8:08 pm
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
The Lagos state chapter of Nigeria’s Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has accused Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, a governorship aspirant on its platform, of plotting to frustrate the party’s plan to field a credible candidate ahead of the Lagos state governorship election.
The party stated this while responding to the suit instituted by Obanikoro before a federal high court in Abuja where he’s asking the court to invalidate the party’s primary election in the state.
Obanikoro had alleged that the primary election was marred by activities of some chieftains of the party who he accused of importing arms and ammunition to the venue of the primary election where he failed to secure the party’s ticket for the governorship election in the state.
The party denied that its 8 December governorship primary was manipulated in favour of the winner, Jimi Agbaje and accused Obanikoro of working to frustrate its plan to field a credible and lawful candidate for the election.
The party alleged in its counter affidavit that Obanikoro stormed the election venue with about 30 heavily armed Mobile policemen and contended that contrary to the claims made by Obanikoro, that it complied with its Electoral Guidelines in the conduct of the Lagos primary.
Furthermore, the PDP denied Obanikoro’s allegation of over-voting during the primary election noting that its electoral committee acted within the guideline and conducted a free exercise and urged the court to dismiss Obanikoro’s suit.
“Voting was by the modified open ballot in accordance with Article 19(k) of the Guidelines. At the conclusion of voting, a total of 864 ballot papers were issued to the accredited delegates” said a paragraph in the party’s counter affidavit.
The party added that the Electoral Committee Chairman in his opening remarks at the event had mentioned that 806 delegates were accredited but noted that the statement was based on a tabulation error which occurred by an omission to tabulate the list of some delegates even though they had been duly accredited for the exercise.
It gave the list of the omitted list as follows: Ikeja adhoc delegates (30); Ikeja automatic delegates (7); Ojo automatic delegates (6); Mushin automatic delegates (8) and Alimosho automatic delegates (7), bringing the total omitted in tabulation to 58.
The party challenged the competence of the suit noting that it was meant to improperly frustrate and deprive the PDP from fielding their lawful governorship candidate in Lagos state and challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
It pointed out that despite Obanikoro’s allegations against a chieftain of the party, Chief Bode George, that Obanikoro failed to add George as a defendant in the case.