President Goodluck Jonathan's plan to force a governorship candidate on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State his facing fresh hurdles as the Independent National Electoral Commission, Nigeria's electoral body, said it would reject the winner of the fraudulent primary if presented to it as a candidate of the party.
The PDP went ahead with a seriously flawed primary election despite a high court injunction stopping the exercise. INEC officials also boycotted the primary last Saturday in view of the court order stopping the primary.
Jonathan's anointed candidate, Henry Seriake-Dickson, was declared the winner in the flawed primary. Saharareporters had revealed that Mr. Dickson was programmed to win. Some contestants, who felt cheated, walked out in protest.
But speaking to Saharareporters this morning, a top INEC official said the primary was a nullity as far as his commission was concerned, and that Dickson will not be an acceptable candidate for the PDP.
'As you know, we (INEC) stayed away from the congress" the official said. "The law expects us to observe party primaries. But we had to stay away so as not to be part of an illegality.
"The court issued an injunction and it is only reasonable that the law is respected. We cannot accept the outcome of such a process. Except the court rules otherwise, we cannot accept the winner of that election as a candidate," the official said.
The official spoke shortly before INEC spokesperson, Kayode Idowu, confirmed to us that his commission stayed away from the congress in compliance with the court injunction.
"We got an injunction, and we had to respect it," he said.
Meanwhile, Saharareporters has received reports that the PDP has filed an appeal against the injunction obtained by Governor Timipre Sylva against the primary.
Ironically, the party had claimed that it did not know of any court injunction against the party congress prior to the primary.
Our sources said the appeal is a desperate ploy by the party to vacate the injunction and acquire legitimacy for the sham primary conducted in flagrant disobedience of a federal high court order.
An Appeal notice filed by the party legal adviser, Olusoka Oke, asked the court of appeal to vacate the injunction of the lower court and a motion urging the court of appeal for a motion for the stay of execution. The chairman of the PDP Usman barrage is represented by Tayo oyetibo, SAN while Mr. Dickson the candidate who emerged from the defective primaries has asked to join the suit through Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN.
At today's resumed hearing before a Federal High Court judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, Gov. Timipre Sylva's represented by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN and Femi Falana, disclosed to the court that the PDP had served processes of appeal to them. After reviewing the pleadings by lawyers in the case, the judge adjourned the case "sine die". In his ruling giving a leeway to the court of appeal, Justice Kolawole stated that the integrity and the sanctity of the processes of court must be preserved.
President Jonathan has reportedly given instructions to his aides to influence the Court of Appeal judges to allow the case receive favorable treatment as he flies to France for a summit.
If the Court of Appeal rules in favor of the illegal primaries, INEC would have no choice but to recognize Mr. Dickson as the authentic candidate for the PDP.