2023: Presidential aspirant drags PDP to court over high cost of nomination form



By Taiye Agbaje
A presidential aspirant, Okey Uzoho, has sued the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for allegedly denying him the opportunity to contest in the May 28 presidential primary.


Uzoho, a lawyer and a card carrying member of the PDP, hinged his denial to vie for the election on the high cost of the expression of interest and nomination forms imposed on aspirants by the party.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the the party had fixed its expression of interest and nomination forms at N40 million for aspirants vying for the office of the president.


The lawyer, in an originating summons marked FCT/CV/144/2022 and filed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sued the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.


The plaintiff said that the action of the PDP setting a monetary condition as additional qualification and criteria for aspirants was in violation of the 1999 Constitution and Section 84(3) and (4) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
Uzoho said he was desirous of contesting for the office of the president of Nigeria in the 2023 election as a flag-bearer of the party.


In an affidavit in support of the suit, the lawyer said it was disheartening that  he was denied the opportunity of actualising his aspirations.


This, he said, is on grounds that he could not submit a bank draft in the sum of N40 million, being a condition for acquiring the expression of interest and nomination forms for the party’s presidential primary election.


He told the court that he had met all the qualifications and requirements set down by the 1999 Constitution and extant laws for participation in the presidential primary of the party for the 2023 election.


He also said that he was not caught up by any of the disqualification criteria set down in Section 137 of the 1999 Constitution.


He, however, asked the court to determine wether having regard to Section 131 read along with Section 1(1) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution, the PDP is entitled to impose or interpose as additional qualification/s the payment of N40million, as further qualification to seek the party’s sponsorship for election to the office of president of Nigeria.


The plaintiff who demanded N50million as compensation for the anxiety, inconvenience, loss of valuable campaign time occasioned by the denial to participate in the presidential primary.


He also sought for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from excluding him from the presidential primary.


He further asked for an order of injunction compelling the PDP to provide him with all the necessary facilities to ensure his participation in the party’s presidential primary election.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.(NAN)