A chieftain of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Rivers State, Hon. Innocent Ajaelu, has said the efforts of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to ensure that the party is excluded from the ballot in the 2023 general election in the state will fail.
Recall that the PDP is in the Federal High Court seeking for a judgement that will compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to disqualify House of Assembly candidates of the SDP for emerging through processes that were not in line with the 2022 Electoral Act.
The PDP is insisting that the SDP did not conduct a primary election in all the 32 state constituencies in the state.
But, Ajaelu, who spoke with LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt yesterday, said the party’s primary elections were supervised by the INEC and were lawfully conducted.
The SDP chieftain, who is also the House of Assembly candidate for Oyigbo Constituency, said members of the party were not panicky over what would be the outcome of the PDP suit.
He said: “Honestly, there are two different cases here, and two different scenarios. What happened to APC was as a result of negligence and exclusion of persons that bought forms to contest for the delegates election and they refused to allow them to participate. So, the people felt they only way and the only place they can seek justice is in the Court.
“So, APC members that were excluded in that election went to Court and the Court saw reasons with them. Even the national Chairman of the party said they should be allowed to participate. Though, that is for those of them in APC. I am no more in APC. That is what I understand happened and they got justice.
“In our own case, I don’t know why any sane person take SDP to court because what we did was a substitution election where the persons there voluntarily withdrew from the race. The party sought for the permission of INEC, constitutionally, to come and supervise the substitution election which INEC did and election was conducted successfully.
“I am hearing that PDP is saying that some of the elections were not held in the various constituencies. It is for the Court to determine because for sure, I know that SDP as a party followed the due process. Every other election, House of Representatives, House of Assembly and Senate were done in the various constituencies and we applied to INEC and informed them of the various venues for the elections.
“We are not afraid because there are three stages before INEC will accept any judgement. So, whatever they do here, another higher Court will still look at it because what we did was lawful. We believe in the Court that it will never, no matter who is involved, no matter what is involved, upturn what is right. It is the last hope of everyone seeking justice. So, we are not afraid.”