By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Tuesday, fixed December 4 to deliver judgement on a suit seeking to nullify the governorship primary election the All Progressive Congress, APC, conducted in Delta State.
The suit was lodged before the court by former Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Victor Ochei.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba okayed the matter for judgement after all the parties adopted their final briefs of argument.
Aside the APC, other Defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1085/ 2018, were the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the declared winner of the primary poll, Chief Great Ogboru.
The Plaintiff had through his lawyer Mr. Ahmed Rahi, SAN, prayed the court to declare that the APC gubernatorial primary election that held on September 30, was illegal and unlawful on the ground that delegates not known to law were used for the exercise.
He averred that the high court had in a judgment that was delivered by Justice Anwuri Chikere on June 19, authenticated a list of delegates of APC in Delta state.
He alleged that the national leadership of the Party sidelined the said list during the primary election.
The former Speaker told the court that contrary to the judgment, the APC leadership, used unknown delegates for the primary poll.
Consequently, he urged the court to nullify the purported primary election for being unlawful, unjust and deliberately carried out in disregard of subsisting judicial directive.
The Plaintiff equally 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.
As well as to issue an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC or its agents from accepting, recognizing or utilizing the name of Chief Ogboru who purportedly emerged as winner of the Delta State 2019 governorship primary election.
In his 40-paragraphed supporting affidavit, the Plaintiff told the court that he was denied fair participation in the primary election despite that he paid N22.5million for expression of interest and nomination forms.
He insisted that the court’s order was brazenly violated by the national leadership of the Party in the conduct of the primary poll election, saying unless the court intervened, the governorship election in Delta State would produce a product of fraud.
Meantime, both APC and Chief Ogboru, lodged preliminary objections to challenge the competence of the suit.
In his objection, Chief Ogboru, through his lawyer, Chief Nelson Imoh, insisted that he was validly nominated by the APC to fly its gubernatorial flag in 2019.
Chief Ogboru told the court that the primary election that produced him, was duly monitored by INEC, adding that his party, APC, approved the list of delegates that participated in the primary.
According to him, “All the reliefs as contained in the PIaintiff/Respondent’s Originating Summons are reliefs not founded on law nor capable of sustaining the Originating Summons.
“Articles 7 & 20 of the All Progressive Congress (APC) constitution 2012 (as amended) was substantially and wholly complied with by the 3rd Defendant/Applicant, as well as 1st and 2nd Defendants in the conduct of the Governorship primaries of the 2nd Defendant that produced the 3rd Defendant as the flag bearer of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2019 Governorship Election in Delta State.
“The case of the Plaintiff/Respondent is brought in bad faith. There is no reasonable cause of action disclosed against the 3rd Defendant\Applicant in the Plaintiff’s Originating Summons.
“The PIaintiff/Respondent who participated fully in the said primaries of the 30th of September, 2018, of the 2nd Defendant, had delegates’ votes counted and assigned to him by the Delta State Governorship primaries Chairman assigned by the 2nd Defendant National Executive Council, cannot turn around to complain of non-compliance with the conduct of the said Governorship primaries in Delta State.
“Issues of disputed facts in contention are not maintainable by way of an Originating Summons. The case of the Plaintiff is speculative and an arrant abuse of the Process of this Honourable Court”, Chief Ogboru added.