By Emmanuel Ogala
A company has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to nullify all elections conducted during the last special convention of the People’s Democratic, PDP, held on August 31, 2013 in Abuja.
According to the originating summons filed by the firm marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/655/2013, a copy of which was obtained by icirnigeria.org, the firm is contesting the alleged unlawful use of its patented ballot boxes for the party’s convention.
The firm, Bedding Holdings Limited, BHL, is praying the court to determine whether by virtue of reliefs granted by a court on June 5, 2012, the respondents could use its patented ballot boxes or its imitation for the PDP special congress without its consent.
It is also urging the court to determine whether, if it answers the above question in the negative, the elections conducted in the congress are unconstitutional, unlawful and thus null and void, in view of the fact that the respondents allegedly used its patented ballot boxes without first seeking and obtaining its consent as required by the judgment.
In the judgment delivered on June 5, 2012 by Justice Adamu Bello in a suit marked: between BHL, Registrar of Patents, Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry and six others, the court declared BHL the sole patentee of transparent and collapsible ballot boxes in the country, adding that the use of such boxes without its consent renders the purpose for which the boxes were used a nullity.
According to the court, Order 6 of the judgment 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 organisation, except with the consent of BHL.
The plaintiff accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of disobeying the earlier court judgment, despite being aware of the court orders, adding that INEC deployed the same ballot boxes for use at the PDP convention without its consent.
The respondents to the suit are President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal and chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Anthony Anenih.
Others include the PDP national chairman, Bamanga Tukur, Jerry Gana, who acted as the chairman, PDP’ special convention committee), Ken Nnamani (who was the Chairman, PDP’s electoral committee, 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), INEC and its chairman, Attahiru Jega.
The suit was filed last Thursday for BHL by its lawyer, John Okoriko of the firm of Karina Tunyan, SAN, and Co.