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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has summoned President Goodluck Jonathan, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ten others to appear before it next Monday to show cause why the last convention of the ruling party held August 31, should not be nullified. Others summoned include Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal and Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Anthony Anenih.
Also on the list is the national chairman of PDP, Bamanga Tukur; Professor Jerry Gana (who acted as the Chairman, PDP’ Special Convention Committee) and Ken Nnamani (who was the Chairman, PDP’s Electoral Committee). Also invited to show cause are Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State (who acted as Chairman, PDP Essential Electoral Materials Committee); Chairman, Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro (who served as Chairman, PDP Special National Convention Sub-Committee on Security), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega. The trial high court judge, Justice Adamu Bello, who issued the summons said the invitation was to ensure everybody was aware of hearing of the case.
The summon is sequel to an application filed by Beddings Holding Limited seeking, in the main, an order nullifying all elections conducted during the last special convention of the People’s Democratic (PDP) held on August 31 in Abuja. Bedding is contesting the alleged unlawful use of its patented ballot boxes for the elections.
It is the plaintiff’s main contention that by virtue of orders six and seven contained in an earlier judgment by the court in his favour, it is the sole patentee of transparent and collapsible ballot boxes in the country. It is contending that by implication, the use of such boxes by PDP without its consent renders the purpose for which the boxes were used a nullity.
The judgement allegedly breached was delivered on June 5, 2012 by Justice Adamu Bello in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/82/2011 between BHL, Registrar of Patents, Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry and six others.
Order six of the judgement reads in part: “Any action or actions whatsoever and howsoever taken or purported to have been taken by the defendants relating to the said products without the prior and express license, consent, authority and/or approval of the plaintiff is unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful and is therefore null and void.”
Order seven restrained the registrar of patents and its agents from registering or issuing the plaintiff’s valid and subsisting patent over the ballot boxes to any person or organistion, except with the consent of BHL. BHL is arguing that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was a party in the suit on which the judgment was given, and that despite being aware of the court’s orders, deployed the same ballot boxes for use at the PDP convention without its (BHL’s) consent, thereby disobeying the judgment.
In the application scheduled for hearing, BHL is therefore urging the court to determine whether “by the combined construction and interpretation of reliefs six and seven of the valid and subsisting judgment of June 5, 2012” the respondents could use its patented ballot boxes or its imitation for the PDP special congress without its consent?
It also urged the court to determine whether, if it answers the above question in the negative, the elections conducted in the congress are unconstitutional, unlawful and stand null and void, in view of the fact that the respondents allegedly used its patented ballot boxes fraudulently without first seeking and obtaining its consent as required by the judgment? BHL wants the court to declare that the respondents ought not to have used its ballot boxes for the PDP congress without its consent.
The plaintiff seeks an order nullifying the elections conducted during the special national convention of the PDP held on August 13, 2013 “for being unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void,” on the ground that the elections were allegedly replete with fraud and illegality because the respondents allegedly used its patented ballot boxes for the elections without its consent, as required in law and in violation of the subsisting court judgment.