The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed Timi Alaibe’s suit challenging the election of Senator Duoye Diri as the governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February governorship election held in Bayelsa State.
A five-member panel of Justices of the apex court presided by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour dismissed the appeal, on the ground that the issue of election of party’s candidate is an internal affair of a political party.
Counsel representing Alaibe, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), withdrew the appeal after the panel members pointed his attention to the fact that the issues raised in the appeal were not about the primary election but about an internal affair of the party.
According to Adedipe, “My Lords, at this level, I can’t pretend to see the handwriting on the wall in view of the position of the panel, which held that the case was an internal matter of the party.
“In view of my Lords’ observation and X-raying of the case, I apply for the withdrawal of the appeal”, Adedipe told the court.
Following his application and the non-objection by respondents in the matter, the panel of justices of the apex court that heard the appeal, unanimously truck out the appeal.
Alaibe, who had lost the suit at both the Federal High Court in Owerri and the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, had in the suit challenged the participation of two delegates who voted in the primary that produced Diri as the party’s candidate.
In the preliminary inquiry preceding the hearing on Tuesday, the Justice Rhodes-Vivour panel informed Adedipe that his case could not be categorised as a pre-election case that a court could entertain but about an internal affair of the party which the court lacked jurisdiction to hear.
Alaibe, who was a governorship aspirant of the PDP in the 2019 election, had instituted a suit against the party, Diri and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the Federal High Court in Owerri, Imo State, which declined jurisdiction.
Not satisfied with the outcome of the judgment of the High Court, Alaibe moved to the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri.
The Appeal Court dismissed his appeal for lacking in merit while ruling against fresh governorship primary election.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the Appeal Court, Alaibe approached the apex court where he is praying the court to declare him the duly elected governor of Bayelsa State.
It would be recalled that on February 13, Diri was pronounced as Bayelsa State governor after the Supreme Court sacked David Lyon less than 24 hours before his inauguration as governor of the state.