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Court clears Obaseki for PDP primaries

2,229 delegates decide gov, Imunsuagbon’s fate today

A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, yesterday, gave Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, the nod to participate in the governorship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after it struck out the suit filed by Mr. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama.
Ogbeide-Ihama, a governorship aspirant, had sued PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, Emmanuel Ogidi, Obaseki and others, asking the court to restrain the PDP leaders from allowing Obaseki to contest the PDP primary election.
He had refused to step down for Obaseki and challenged his (Obaseki’s) legality to contest the election.
But following an out-of-court settlement with party leaders, Ogbeide-Ihama withdrew his case against Obaseki.
When the case was called up yesterday, one of the counsels for the plaintiff, D. C. Denwigwe (SAN) told the court that the parties in the suit have resolved their differences.
He apologized to the court for the inconvenience, and requested that the court strike out the matter based on the oral prayers.
Secondus’ counsel, Emmanuel Enoidem, backed Denwigwe’s request, in the same manner Alex Ejesiema, the counsel to Higher King agreed.
Thereafter, the presiding Judge, Justice E. O. Obile, struck out the matter, and commended the “parties for settling out of court as it is the proper thing to do.”
Ejesiema told reporters after the court proceedings that Obaseki could now contest the primary election of the party.
Meanwhile, Obaseki will know his fate today as the PDP holds its primary election to elect its candidate for the September 19 governorship election.
Obaseki joined PDP last Friday and obtained his nomination form on Saturday. Three other aspirants, a member of House of Representatives, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama; an educationist, Chief Kenneth Imasuagbon and Gideon Ikhime, had obtained the nomination forms.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said a total of 2,229 delegates are expected to vote during the primaries. The venue is Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
“All sensitive materials are already in Benin City. The Chairman of the Primary Election Committee, Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed and other members of the committee are also in Edo State.
“The election will be held in compliance with the COVID-19 protocol,” Ologbondiyan added.
At the time of filing this report, two of the aspirants, Ogbeide-Ihama and Ikhime have stepped down, leaving the contest to only between Obaseki and Imasuagbon.
The governor survived a last-minute scar on Wednesday after a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt struck out a case seeking to stop him from participating in the primaries. The case was filed by Ogbeide-Ihama.
The primary election was shifted two times before now.
The party had earlier fixed its primaries for June 19 and 20 and intimated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accordingly. It later changed it to June 23 before it finally settled for today.
The shift, obviously, was to accommodate Obaseki who was disqualified by the All Progressives Congress (APC) screening committee.
This reportedly did not go down well with the aspirants, especially as he was given the green light to run with his deputy, Philip Shiuabu.

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