By Inalegwu Shaibu
Attempt by Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from contesting the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential primaries through court injunctions has been declared null and void by the 2010 Electoral Act, which places restrictions on the court to stop party primaries.
A Federal lawmaker, who spoke to journalists in Abuja, Monday, on condition of anonymity, pointed out that President Jonathan could not be stopped from contesting the election in 2011 through court injunctions as being sought by Alhaji Atiku and other pro-zoning elements across the country.
He said those seeking court injunctions in opposition to President Jonathan’s candidacy on grounds of zoning, were totally ignorant of section 87 (10) of the 2010 Electoral Act, which had nullified the powers to the court to stop political parties from holding primaries on account of alleged non-compliance to party rules.
He said: “Those who think they can use the court to stop the president are merely showing their ignorance to what the Electoral Act provides on primaries.
“Their aim is to get some interim injunctions to stop the president from contesting but such is not possible because the new Electoral Act has removed the powers of the court to issue such injunctions or stop primaries.”
He noted further that despite the Electoral Act allowing aggrieved party members to seek redress from the court, section 87(10), however, remove the powers of the court to stop party primaries on the ground of any alleged abuse of constitutions or regulations of the party.
Quoting Section 87 (9), he said “notwithstanding the provisions of the Act or rules of a political party, an aspirant who complains that any of the provisions of this Act and the guidelines of a political party has not been complied with in the selection or nomination of a candidate of a political party for election, may apply to the Federal High Court of state or FCT, for redress”.
Section 87 (10) reads: “Nothing in this section (section 87) shall empower the courts to stop the holding of primaries or general election under this Act pending the determination of the suit.”
The lawmaker noted that the provision was included to guard against the abuse of court injunctions by aggrieved party members, and had become a window for the president to contest the PDP primaries, irrespective of court actions seeking to stop him.
He called on all delegates to ignore such moves and continue to support President Jonathan in the 2011 presidential elections.