By Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on Friday declared that Senator John Owan-Enoh, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, and others were the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State for the 2019 governorship and National Assembly elections.
The Appeal Court further declared that the Sir John Ochalla-led executive committee is the valid state executive committee of the party in the state.
Delivering judgments in the two cases that bordered on who were the authentic candidates of the APC as well as the authentic state executive of the party, the appeal panel declared that Owan-Enoh, Ndoma-Egba and others, whose names were published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), remained the authentic candidates of the party.
The presiding judge, Justice J. S. Ikyegh, and two others — Justice T. Abubakar, and Justice U. A. Ogakwu — unanimously ruled in cases N0: CA/C/62/2019 and CA/C/70/2019 involving Etim John and others versus John Ochalla and others, that the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar acted without jurisdiction in its order.
The Appeal Court noted that the lower court cannot grant relief, and make orders against persons who were not parties before the court.
The court accordingly set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court describing same as “being pervasive, and where no relief was sought”.
The justices said that the orders of the Federal High Court “were made gratuitous, and without fair hearing and against established principles of the law”.
The court said in the circumstances, the candidates whose names were published remained the authentic candidates of the APC in the state.
In the second case N0: CA/C/70/2019 bordering on the leadership of the state executive of the party, the Appeal Court judges also authenticated the Ochalla-led executive over the factional exco of Etim John, who is supported by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani.