By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Delta State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Chief Great Ogboru, will on December 4 know if he can fly the flag of the party in the 2019 governorship election, as a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday fixed the date to deliver its judgment in the suit seeking the nullification of the Delta State APC governorship primary held on September 30, 2018.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba fixed the date Tuesday, after parties in the suit adopted and argued their written addresses.
The suit, which was filed by a former speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Victor Ochei, specifically asked the court to nullify the APC governorship primary election that produced Ogboru as the candidate of the APC for the 2019 general election on the grounds that it contravened the judgment of the court.
Defendants in the suit include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the APC and Chief Ogboru.
At the last adjournment, Justice Dimgba fixed November 13 for adoption of all processes filed in respect of the case.
When the matter came up Tuesday, counsel to the first defendant (INEC), Ebuka Nwaneze, urged the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
“The jurisdiction confers on this court in pre-election matter is not applicable here,” he said
Similarly, counsel to APC, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), prayed the court to dismiss the originating summon in its entirety.
In opposing the suit, counsel to Ogboru (3rd defendant), Chief Nelson Imoh, said his client is objecting to the matter purely on point of law.
He argued that the court being a court of coordinate jurisdiction cannot sit on appeal on the judgment of Justice Chikere.
Responding, Ahmed Raji (SAN), counsel to the plaintiff, urged the court to dismiss the objections of the defendants on the grounds that they lack merit.
He insisted that the APC violated the judgment of Justice Chikere by using a different list of delegates to conduct the Delta State governorship primary other than the one that formed part of the consent judgment of the court.
After listening to the submissions of the counsel in the matter, Justice Dimgba fixed December 4 for judgment.
The plaintiff, in the suit averred that the Federal High Court judgment by Justice Anwuri Chikere delivered on June 19th in Abuja where the list of delegates of APC in Delta state was authenticated by the court was violated by the national leadership of the party to conduct the primary election.
Ochei said contrary to the contents of the judgment of the court, the APC leadership went out of its way to jettison the court judgment and used unknown delegates for the September 30th primary election.
He therefore asked the court to nullify the purported primary election on the grounds that it was unlawful, unjust and deliberately carried out in disregard of judicial sanctity.
The plaintiff also prayed the court for an order compelling the APC to immediately conduct a fresh primary election with the list of delegates endorsed in the consent judgment of the Federal High Court.
The governorship aspirant also prayed for an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC or its agents from accepting, recognising or utilising the name of Chief Ogboru who purportedly emerged as winner of the Delta State 2019 governorship primary election of 30th September, 2018.
In a 40-paragraph affidavit in support of the suit, the former speaker claimed that he was denied fair participation in the primary election in spite of his payment of N22.5 million for expression of interest and nomination forms.
He further averred that the order of court was brazenly violated by the national leadership of the APC in the conduct of the primary election by deviating from a subsisting court judgment and that unless the court intervenes, the governorship election in Delta State will produce a product of fraud.