ASABA—A Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, yesterday, declined to stop the governorship candidates of Labour Party, LP, Chief Great Ogboru and his All Progressives Congress, APC, counterpart, Olorogun O’Tega Emerhor, from participating in the April 11, governorship election in the state.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state had challenged the eligibility of the candidates of the LP, APC and Accord Party in the March 28, National Assembly and the April 11 elections.
PDP had prayed the court to disqualify the candidates of the three political parties, standing for election in the state on the grounds that their parties violated sections 85(1) of the Electoral Acts, 2010 as amended.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is one of the defendants in the suits.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, trial judge, Justice Olatunregun Ishola, who was visibly angry, expressed discontent with the defendants’ counsel, saying that the counsel were delaying the court proceedings.
Enjoining them to comply with the new practice directive which requires lawyers to file all necessary documents and issues in their counter affidavits/statement of claims, Justice Ishola said that the court was prepared to give the matter accelerated hearing and urged parties to ensure that all documents reach the court within the next two days.
Ordering PDP lead counsel, Mr. Akinlolu Kehinde, SAN, to ensure that parties in the case were served all the necessary papers before the next adjourned date, April 17, 2015, the judge said: “I am not impressed with the way this matter is going. This is a pre-election case, you should be ready for the matter before coming to my court. I will not tolerate these lapses. We need to tidy up the case. We have come to this court up to three times and we are still talking about papers.”
Kehinde, in his submission assured the court of his preparedness to ensure that the case proceed as scheduled but decried that “the defence counsel are laying land mines to frustrate this matter.”