More Trouble for Delta APC as Court Bars NWC from Submitting Candidates’ List to INEC

  • NWC meets over primary appeal report
  • To submit candidates list to INEC Thursday

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The crisis rocking the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may have taken a turn for worse as a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba wednesday restrained the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party from submitting the state list of candidates from the recent series of primary elections for the 2019 election to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

This is coming as the National Working Committee of the party met late evening yesterday to consider the final list of candidates for the 2019 general elections.

The presiding judge, Justice Toyin Adegoke, in her ruling, ordered the NWC not to submit any list of candidates for the 2019 general elections from Delta State from any of the two factions to INEC till the substantive suit filled is heard.

The Cyril Ogodo-led state executive had filed a suit asking the court to restrain APC, Adams Oshiomhole and its agents from submitting the list of candidates from the Jones Erue faction to INEC.

Nonetheless, Justice Adegoke said since pre-election matters require accelerated hearing, the following orders have to be made: “This matter shall be given an accelerated hearing owing to the fact that it is a pre-election matter. All defendants are to take note of the tendencies of this suit.”

She further submitted, “Parties shall maintain status quo as at yesterday the 17th day of October 2018. That is the order of this court.” Adegoke ruled.

The court consequently ordered an accelerated hearing and gave two days to call in witnesses to deal with the case.

Counsel to the applicants, Mr. O.J. Oghenejakpor, said the implication is that, as at today, no list of candidates has been submitted to INEC and none would be submitted until we hear this case.

“Technically, the court has granted an injunction restraining any person to nominate any candidate from Delta State for the 2019 election. The issue will have to await the substantive trial, which is now fixed for November 1 and, 2018.

“Court has also granted us an accelerated hearing so that the facts can be put to rest once and for all. It’s a healing process and I think if the National Executives could take opportunity of this process. This is what will bring the party together in Delta State.”

However, counsel to the first and second respondents, Mr. George Onaho, who challenged the jurisdiction of the court, said, “The court has done the needful and in the view of the court, our objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court has to wait and be adopted together with our final written address after the substantive suit must have been heard. So that necessitated the adjournment that was taken.”

Meanwhile, the NWC of APC met late evening yesterday to consider the final list of candidates for the 2019 general elections.

The party leadership considered the report of the five-member primary election Appeal Panel headed by former Edo State governor, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor.

There have been disputes arising from the APC primary elections with aggrieved aspirants inundating the party national secretariat with petitions.

THISDAY however, gathered that the appeal panel, which was set up after the expiration of the deadline for primaries, found its hands tied and could not cancel any of the primary election result.

An APC source said rather the party had asked the appeal panel to recommend palliative measures that would assuage the grievances of the aggrieved aspirants.

THISDAY learnt that based on the recommendations of the appeal committee, the NWC may be compelled to substitute candidates where necessary.

The NWC meeting approved names of party candidates for onwards submission to INEC today (Thursday).

Meanwhile, APC has inaugurated the North East Zonal Executives Committee members elected during last National Convention.

Those inaugurated include, Kashim Mustapha Haruna, Zonal Legal Adviser; Amina Manga, Zonal Woman Leader; Ilya Hamed, Zonal Publicity Secretary, and Mohammed Abba, Leader of the Special Persons.

Mustapha Salihu, APC National Vice Chairman who performed the inauguration at the party’s National Secretariat, Abuja, explained that the ritual was coming months after the election of the Zonal Officers because the Zonal Chairmen who are to inaugurate them were saddled with series of activities such as the Ekiti State governorship election, Ondo Primary and Governorship elections and the nationwide primaries shortly after the convention.

Salihu charged the newly-inaugurated Zonal Officers to hit the ground running and work hard to secure victory for APC in the North East geopolitical zone at the 2019 general elections.

He said he was confident that the officers were people of proven integrity with the political clout to deliver the entire North East to APC and sued for cordial working relationship between them and party leaders in the Zone.

“It is my pleasure to inaugurate these gentlemen and I hope we will have a very cordial working relationship. I wish them the best of luck in their duties and I hope they will discharge their duties without fear and favour, abide by the truth and with the fear of God.

“Like a child born during the war, immediately after the convention we started the Ekiti election after which we jumped into Osun primaries after which we go into the primaries for the nomination of candidates for the 2019 general elections. So this did not give us time to go back to zones and inaugurate our Zonal Officers”.