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Court orders accelerated hearing in suit against PDP primaries

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has ordered an accelerated hearing into a suit seeking to stop the forthcoming presidential primary elections of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Justice Donatus Okorowo gave the order on Tuesday while ruling on an application for abridgement of the time argued by Paul Erokoro on behalf of the plaintiff, Cosmos Ndukwe.

Mr Okorowo held that time was of the essence in the matter and that it would be in the interest of justice for the suit of the plaintiff to be entirely determined before the May 28 date of the primary election.

The judge asked the PDP, its national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, and the national secretary, Samuel Anyanwu, to file their responses to the suit against them within four days.

The judge fixed May 18 to adopt the final addresses in the suit, saying a date for judgement would be fixed immediately after the adoption of addresses.

Mr Erokoro had in the application pleaded with the court to abridge the time for the suit of his client to be expeditiously heard.

The defendants, however, opposed the application for abridgement of time and accelerated hearing, claiming that there was nothing urgent about the case of the plaintiff.

Mahmud Magaji, representing the PDP, said that the plaintiff had nothing to lose if the party went ahead with the scheduled presidential primary.

He said this was because the party’s action could also be nullified by the court if found to be taken on faulty steps.

They argued further that it would be unfair to give the plaintiff 14 days to file the suit but reduce their own time of response.

The defendants also said that abridging their time would amount to” tying their hands to the back” while expecting them to respond.

In his submission, Kalu Agu, counsel to the third defendant (Anyanwu) claimed that it would not be in the interest of justice for the court to abridge time when his client was yet to be served with the suit.

Mr Ndukwe had on April 28, filed an ex parte application for an order of injunction restraining the PDP from proceeding with its scheduled primary election.

He said the May 28 primary election should be put on hold pending the hearing and determination of his suit, challenging the party’s position on the issue of zoning the party’s presidential ticket.

(NAN)

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