PDP Appeals Nullification of Edo Governorship Primary Election

In a move to safeguard its political standing in Edo State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has formally challenged the Federal High Court's decision to nullify its February 22 governorship primary. The primary had resulted in Asue Ighodalo being chosen as the party's flag-bearer for the upcoming September 21 governorship election. The appeal, lodged on Wednesday at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, is based on 25 grounds aimed at overturning the earlier judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo on July 4, 2024.

Asue Ighodalo

Background of the Case

The PDP's internal conflict in Edo State has been a significant issue since the February 22, 2024, governorship primary. Justice Inyang Ekwo’s ruling declared the primary invalid, citing the party's failure to adhere to its constitution and electoral guidelines. Specifically, the exclusion of 378 elected ward delegates from participating in the primary was deemed a violation of Article 50(3) of the PDP constitution. This exclusion, the judge noted, was tantamount to non-compliance with the party's constitution and the Electoral Act 2022.

Justice Ekwo emphasized the legal requirement for political parties to follow their constitutions, guidelines, and regulations. He stated, “The failure to comply with the electoral guidelines is not different from the effect of non-compliance with the constitution of the political party or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.” The judgment further highlighted that the exclusion of the ward delegates was “arbitrarily wrong” and ordered the inclusion of these delegates in future primaries.

Details of the Appeal

In response to the judgment, the PDP filed an appeal marked CA/ABJ/CV/2024 through their lawyer, Adeyemi Ajibade (SAN). The appeal, dated July 9, argues that the trial court's decision was against the weight of evidence presented. The PDP’s appeal lists Kelvin Mohammed, Gabriel Okoduwa, Ederaho Osagie (representing the 378 ad hoc delegates), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Secretary of the PDP, and the Vice Chairman, PDP South-South, as the first to sixth respondents, respectively.

The PDP contends that the lower court erred in law by granting reliefs 2, 3, and 4 sought by the respondents. The party maintains that there was no factual basis for the trial court's decision, asserting that the three-man ad hoc ward congress conducted on February 4 did not include the first to third respondents as elected delegates. Consequently, the party argues that Ighodalo was duly elected by legitimate ad hoc delegates in accordance with its procedures.

The Grounds of Appeal

The appeal outlines several key points of contention. Firstly, the PDP challenges the trial court's interpretation of its adherence to the party's constitution and electoral guidelines. The party argues that its internal processes and the conduct of the ward congresses were in line with established procedures. It further asserts that the exclusion of the 378 delegates was not arbitrary but based on legitimate grounds that were overlooked by the lower court.

Additionally, the PDP argues that the trial court's order for mandatory inclusion of the excluded delegates undermines the party's autonomy and internal democratic processes. The appeal seeks to protect the integrity of the party's decision-making mechanisms and prevent judicial overreach into its internal affairs.

Implications of the Appeal

The outcome of the appeal will have significant implications for the PDP’s electoral strategy in Edo State. A favourable ruling could reaffirm Ighodalo's candidacy and consolidate the party's position ahead of the September 21 governorship election. Conversely, an unfavourable decision could exacerbate internal conflicts and weaken the party's electoral prospects.

The appeal also highlights broader issues of internal democracy within political parties in Nigeria. The PDP's legal battle underscores the challenges parties face in balancing internal processes with adherence to legal and constitutional standards. The case raises questions about the extent to which courts can intervene in party affairs and the implications of such interventions for political stability and party cohesion.

Statements from Key Stakeholders

The PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, issued a statement expressing confidence in the appellate court's ability to deliver a fair judgment. He emphasized the party's commitment to upholding democratic principles and ensuring that its internal processes are transparent and inclusive. Ologunagba also reiterated the party's support for Ighodalo, describing him as the legitimate candidate chosen through a democratic process.

“The PDP stands firm in its belief that the appeal will restore justice and uphold the integrity of our primary election. We urge all party members and supporters to remain steadfast and committed to the democratic process,” Ologunagba stated.

On the other hand, representatives of the excluded delegates have expressed hope that the appellate court will uphold the lower court's judgment. They argue that their exclusion from the primary was unjust and that their participation is crucial for the legitimacy of the party's candidate. Their lawyer, who chose to remain anonymous, stated, “The judgment of the Federal High Court was a victory for democracy and internal party democracy. We believe the Court of Appeal will affirm this decision and ensure that our clients' rights are protected.”


Broader Political Context

The legal tussle within the PDP comes at a critical time for the party, which is gearing up for the 2024 governorship elections in several states. The party's ability to resolve internal disputes and present a united front will be crucial for its success at the polls. The outcome of the appeal will not only impact the PDP’s prospects in Edo State but also set a precedent for how internal party disputes are handled in the future.

The case also sheds light on the broader challenges facing Nigeria’s political system, where internal party democracy often clashes with external legal and constitutional frameworks. As political parties navigate these complexities, the role of the judiciary in adjudicating internal disputes will continue to be a focal point of debate.


The PDP’s appeal against the judgment nullifying its Edo State governorship primary is a pivotal moment for the party and its electoral strategy. As the legal process unfolds, the party will need to balance its internal dynamics with the broader goal of maintaining electoral viability. The Court of Appeal’s decision will not only determine the immediate future of the PDP's candidacy in Edo State but also influence the broader landscape of internal party democracy in Nigeria.

In the meantime, the PDP leadership urges all members to remain united and focused on the upcoming election, emphasizing the importance of solidarity and collective effort in achieving electoral success. As the political landscape continues to evolve, the PDP’s legal and strategic manoeuvres will be closely watched by political analysts, party members, and the electorate alike. #pdp #Edopolitics #TrendingNews #Bulletin1247


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