Absence of INEC, Chairman Stalls Kwara APC Leadership Case at S’Court

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By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The absence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Caretaker Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bashiru Bolarinwa, on Monday stalled hearing at the Supreme Court in the appeal on the authentic leadership of the party in Kwara State.

A factional leader of the Kwara APC, Hon. Balogun Fulani, had approached the Supreme Court to challenge the powers of the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, to arbitrarily dissolve the state executive committee of the party when their four-year tenure had not expired.

When the matter was called, no counsel announced appearance for the electoral umpire. Similarly, the caretaker chairman was not in court and neither was he represented.

However, the registrar of the court announced that both INEC and Bolarinwa were not in court because hearing notice could not be served on them.

Consequently, the five-man panel of justices of the court shifted the hearing to Wednesday, April 10 and ordered services of the hearing notices to INEC and Bolarinwa, who are both fifth and sixth respondents in the suit.

Fulani, in the appeal filed on behalf of other state executive members of the party, is asking the Supreme Court to restrain Oshiomhole from further recognising and dealing with the Bolarinwa group as the officers of the party in the state.

The appellant also prayed for another order of the court stopping INEC from accepting the nomination of candidates for the 2019 general election other than the nomination by his group.

A High Court in Ilorin had in February gave judgment in favour of the appellant, but the judgment of the High Court was set aside by the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division on the grounds that the case of the appellant has become academic, prompting the appeal at the Supreme Court.

At the resumed hearing Monday, Kehinde Eleja (SAN) drew the attention of the Supreme Court to the fact that the case must be fully determined between Monday and Friday, being a pre-election matter that has a duration of 60 days in the Supreme Court which will expire on Friday.