A federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt on Monday, August 15, 2016 validated the upcoming National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party , PDP billed to hold in the same city.
The court, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Watila delivered ruled on a motion filed by the secretary of the PDP’s National Convention Planning Committee, Senator Ben Obi, who is also a member of the National Caretaker Committee of the main opposition party in Nigeria.
The motion was filed against the inspector general of police, the commission of police in Rivers State, Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Security Services, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in suit number FHC/ PH/CS/585/2016
The court directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to monitor party’s national convention and the inspector general of police, and Rivers State police commission, director-general of the Department of State Security Services, DSS, to provide security for the convention scheduled for August 17, 2016.
In line with this court order, Governor Nyesom Wike, of Rivers State, the host of the event and chairperson of the has declared that the convention of the PDP would proceed as planned because it has the backing of legal authority.
“The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants are hereby mandated to provide security for the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, August 17 2016 or any other date and venue pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice or the originating summons as the honourable court may decide,” the court ruling said.
“The 5th defendant, INEC, is mandated to monitor the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt on Wednesday August 17, 2016 or any other date and venue pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice or the originating summons as the honourable court may decide.”
The court also ordered that the police, DSS and INEC be served by substituted means through their respective offices in Port Harcourt.
Justice Watila reiterated that the judgement delivered by a federal court on July 4, 2016 recognised the May 21, 2016 National Convention of the party which produced the National Caretaker Committee and noted that that judgement has not been appealed or set aside, hence the court is under obligation to protect the judgement.
Justice Watila adjourned the suit to 16th August, 2016 for the hearing of the originating summons filed by Senator Ben Obi.
In an interview after the ruling, counsel to Senator Ben Obi, Barrister Wori Nyeche Wori said with the granting of the interlocutory injunction, the party has the legal backing to carry on with the August 17 National Convention.
“Let me assure you that as the chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee, we are backed by law and the court that the convention will go ahead,” Governor Wike told members of the press in Port Harcourt on Monday.
“The court has recognised the May 21 National Convention before now in its July 4, 2016 Judgment. Again, today, the Federal High Court has re-confirmed that INEC should monitor the August 17 , 2016 National Convention and that the security agencies should provide security as required”.
The chairman of the PDP National Convention Planning Committee noted that the said suit was filed by the Caretaker Committee against INEC and Security agencies because they were party in the July 4, 2016 judgment.