A Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar has delivered a judgement in a matter brought before it by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and her governorship candidate, Sen. Sandy Onor in favour of the All Progressives Congress, APC and her governorship candidate, Sen. Prince Bassey Otu.
The Appellant, PDP and Sandy Onor had appealed the judgement of the trial court last year and delivered by Justice Rosemary Oghoghorie in Calabar.
Counsel to the Appellant, First Baba Isa had argued that the APC deputy governorship candidate, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey, being a 3rd defendant on the matter, apart from not being a member of the 1st defendant (APC) was also a British citizen. He had prayed the court to disqualify the APC governorship candidate, Sen. Bassey Otu being the 2nd defendant and the 3rd defendant, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey, because their ticket was a joint one.
In an unanimous decision by the three justices, R.C Agbo, O.F Omoleye and B.B Aliyu, Justice O.F. Omoleye who delivered the judgement unbehalf of their Lordships submitted that on the issue of membership of a political party, the Appellant had no business in the activities of another political party. She upheld the judgement of the trial court, insisting that the issue of political party membership was not justiceable and therefore the court lacked the jurisdiction to determine it.
She maintained that as much as the constitution of Nigeria recognizes political party membership, the business of such political party remains an internal affair of the party.
Although she acknowledged the right of the Appellants to institute a pre-electoral matter, she insisted that the matter itself was not justiceable.
“The domestic affairs of a political party is an internal issue of that political party and the court will not dabble into the internal affairs of any political party” she said.
“The issue of leadership and membership of political partties is an internal affair of a political party and the court will not interfere in it. The court therefore, cannot be dragged into the internal issue of if the 3rd defendant is a member of the 1st defendant or not. This therefore means that the action of the Appeallants is not justiceable. This matter is therefore struck out for lacking in merit and a cost of N500,000 awarded against the Appeallants” she concluded.