Court Adjourns Ruling on Suit Seeking to Restrain APC from Using Direct Primary

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city

The Federal High Court in Benin-city, Edo State, yesterday adjourned the ruling to July 6, 2020, to decide either to hand off or to go on with the case on the direct mode of primary adopted by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the nomination of the party’s governorship candidate.

The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Umar, adjourned the suit filed by the factional state Deputy Chairman of the party, Pastor Kenneth Asekomhe, and one of the disqualified governorship aspirants of the party, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, challenging the decision of the party’s NWC to adopt direct primary election for the nomination of its governorship candidate.

The defendants in the suit are APC, Adams Oshiomhole, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Inspector General of Police (IG.

The plaintiffs had earlier filed an ex parte motion restraining the party from adopting the direct mode of primary.

They also prayed the court to restrain INEC from monitoring the primaries, and the police from giving effect to the NWC’s direct primaries order.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, counsel to the second defendant, Roland Otaru (SAN), said he was not satisfied with the ruling of the Appeal Court of June 18, and has decided to approach the Supreme Court for further interpretations

He told the court that since the matter has been taken to the superior court, the Lordship should resign himself from the matter.

“What happened in court today (yesterday) is that I filed an application for the stay of further proceedings predetermination of my appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal which was delivered on June 18, 2020, to the Supreme Court.

“We are entitled to do that under the constitution. We are entitled to do that under the rule of court. So, I am fortified to have filed the application having regards to the relevant laws.

“We are appealing against it because my appeal was struck out at the Court of Appeal because they said I appealled in respect of the substantive matter.

“I have now said that I was dissatisfied with that judgment because what I appealed upon was issue of jurisdiction.

“Basically, it is an issue of jurisdiction which is in relation to the internal or domestic affairs of a political party. Because, how can a plaintiff be asking the court to direct the mode of primary to be conducted by a party and the Court of Appeal said we appealed in the respect of the substantive matter? But I then said having regard to the decision of the superior court, they can even decide the matter at that level.

“So, they struck out my appeal, but my client has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court,” Otaru said

On his part, Counsel to the plaintiff, Ken Mozia (SAN), said since both parties could not reach agreement on the matter, they all agreed that the matter should be adjourned.