By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo

Federal High Court, sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has dismissed an application seeking to be joined in a suit challenging the authenticity of the West African Examination Council, WAEC, certificate of the party’s governorship candidate, Pastor Umo Eno for lack of merit.

A PDP governorship aspirant in the 2023 general election Aniekan Etim had approached the FHC to be joined in the suit filed by Mr Akan Okon, another governorship aspirant who is seeking the disqualification of the PDP flagbearer for alleged certificates forgery.

Okon in the suit with number FHC/UY/CS/110/2022, claimed that Umo Eno was cleared in error by the PDP Governorship primary Screening committee which sat in Portharcourt, Rivers State.

But ruling on Etim’s application on Friday, the Court presided over by Justice Agatha Okeke, held that, “the applicant was not a necessary party, as he failed to show how his presence will necessitate the dismissal of the suit.”

The Court also held that for a person to be joined in the suit as a necessary party, the interest must align with the interest of the defendants, noting that but in the instant case, the applicant, Aniekan Etim, who is seeking to be joined in the suit, is also seeking the cancellation of the PDP governorship primary.

The Court held that “before a candidate at a political party primary can have a locus standi to sue the conduct of the party primary, he must have been screened, cleared by his political party and participated in the said primaries.”

The court noted that although Mr. Aniekan Etim bought PDP governorship forms for the governorship primaries conducted on May 25th, 2022, he, however, did not take part in the exercise, because he had voluntarily withdrawn from the race.

The presiding judge added that Etim “did not show how Pastor Umo Eno’s governorship candidature, which is being challenged by Mr. Akan Okon was posing a threat or injury to him, nor show sufficient interests in the matter in controversy.”

The Court described Mr. Aniekan Etim as “a meddlesome interloper and a busy body’ who is pursuing his own cause in another man’s suit.

The Court dismissed the application as “lacking in merit” and adjourned the 29th August, 2022 for continuation of hearing of the substantive suit.

The substantive case is between Mr. Akan Okon (plaintiff) and the People’s Democratic Party, Pastor Eno and the Independent National Electoral Commission (first, second and third defendants) respectively.

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