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• Jonathan
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday stopped the Bayelsa State chapter of the Peoples Demoeratic Party (PDP) from conduting its governorship primary slated for November 19. The court made the pronouncement following a motion brought by Governor Timpreye Sylva, who was denied a return ticket.

There had been a face-off between the PDP and its governor over the second term ticket which had produced several lists of cleared aspirants, the last one was released on Sunday which sealed the hope of Gov. Sylva from contesting.

But giving the order stopping the November 19 primary, Justice Gabriel Kolawole warned the ruling PDP not to tempt the court's might by going ahead with the exercise. However, the party said yesterday it was ready to defend its action . Justie Kolawole said the order must prevail until the determination of the motion.

Specifically, the court warned that any steps taken by the PDP in defiance of its order which may be pre-judicial and subversive, it would not hesitate to nullify such steps or decision in order to uphold and protect the sanctity of the court process and to vindicate its integrity as the established constitutional arbiter between the state and the citizens and between the citizens inter se.

The order that tied the PDP's hands from conducting the election reads; 'That in the event perhaps, unlikely that the second defendant [PDP] in defiance of these orders takes steps which may be pre-judicial; perhaps subversive of these orders and of this proceedings before the returned date adjourned to November 22, 2011, this court will without much ado, proceed to making such necessary orders to nullify such steps or decision taken once they are served with the motion exparte and or order made herein in order to uphold and protect the sanctity of the court process and to vindicate its integrity as the established constitutional arbiter between the state and the citizens and between the citizens inter se.'

Justice Kolawole has, however, directed Governor Sylva to put the defendants in the suit on notice within 72 hours of being served with same motion on notice to show cause why the governor is not entitled to the preservative orders in prayers one to three in the motion ex-parte.

Justice Kolawole further held that 'in the event that the defendants when served with the originating summons on notice and enrollment in this order, the second and third defendants (PDP and its acting National Chairman. Abubakar Kawu Baraje) were unable to show such reasonable or just cause why the order shall not be made, the court will have no hesitation in either granting the said order in the way and manner couched or may grant Prayer Four as the alternative prayer in the motion exparte.

In his reaction, one of the aspirants, Hon. Henry Seriake- Dickson, told journalists that he was not aware of the court order.' I haven't seen the process; when we get it, we shall take action, accordingly. I am a party in this case and naturally, I have a right to be heard.'

In the motion exparte, Governor Sylva had sought:
•An order of interim injunction restraining the defendants, privies, agents, servants proxies or any other person whosoever described from conducting, organizing or holding any meeting or ward congress from embarking on any activity leading to the holding of any fresh governorship primary election for Bayelsa State.

Similarly, former Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Timi Alaibe, former Director-General of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and proprietor of Silverbird Entertainment Group, Ben Murray-Bruce, as well as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources, Godknows Igali, who were leading contenders for the party's governorship ticket, had their fate sealed by the PDP.

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party came up with its final decision in Abuja on Sunday, declaring that the governor and the other aspirants were unsuccessful in their bid to be cleared to contest the ticket in Saturday's PDP primary election in the state.

According to a statement entitled 'Final Decision on Bayelsa,' issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali, the NWC had reviewed the reports of the Screening Committee and Screening Appeal panel for the gubernatorial primary.