LINGERING legal battle between incumbent Sen Ovie Omo-Agege and Olorogun O’tega Emerhor over who gets 2019 Delta Central Senatorial District seat won by the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Delta state has shifted to Supreme Court for showdown.
The determination of the eventual winner is hinged on the apex court’s determination which, between Chief Cyril Ogodo chaired faction of the Delta APC which produced Emerhor as 2019 Delta Central candidate and the Prophet Jones Erue’s chaired faction which produced Omo-Agege was authentic going into the elections.
The Chief Cyril Ogodo led faction of the party has asked the Supreme Court to set aside judgment of the Court of Appeal which had sacked it and reinstated Jones Erue leadership chaired Executive Committee of Delta APC.
The Court of Appethe eal judgment, delivered by Justice Jimi Olukayode Bada, Chidi Nwaoma Uwa and Muhammed L.Shuaibu May 19 set aside the Judgment by the Federal High Court Asaba Division which had upheld the Ogodo’s Executive Committee as the authentic leadership of the party in Delta.
The High Court, in sacking the Jones Erue-led executive, March 18 had also voided participation of Sen Omo-Agege and Chief Great Ogboru who trailed Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa in the 2019 governorship, as the APC candidates in the 2019 elections in Delta.
The High Court had similarly upheld the template of the Ogodo faction’s candidates, including Dr. Pat Utomi, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and Ima Niboro as governorship, Delta Central Senatorial District and Ughelli North/South/Udu Federal Constituency APC candidates in the just concluded elections.
Following the Appeal Court’s upturning of the High Court’s Judgement, Ogodo led faction through their Counsel, O.J Oghenejakpor has approach the Supreme Court to set aside the latest judgment.
Ogodo’s faction grounds for climbing to the Supreme Court include the argument that the Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law in holding that the appellants have abandoned their preliminary objection and thereby refused entertaining the preliminary objection properly raised before them and ended up striking same out without considering it.
The appellants also contended that the Justices of the Court of Appeal misdirected selves in law in their consideration of the cause of action of the appellants when they held in pages 17-18 of the judgment in part thus”it is clear that the crux of the suit at the lower court is the status of the Executive of 4th respondent (APC) at the State, Local Government and Wards levels in Delta.
“It is not a suit in respect of selection or nomination of a candidate of a political party for election who were to be sponsored by the 4th respondent. It is a case purely concerning members of the State Executives of the 4th respondent in Delta State”.
The appellants further averted that their claim from the record of appeal was a complaint against breach of APC Constitution, APC guidelines for conduct of primaries, Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 by the respondents which has vested them with a cause of action.
They further contended that the lower court, by limiting its consideration to reliefs 1-6 of the statement of claim amounted to denial of fair hearing, and that the lower court took a one sided view of the case and ignored positively looking at the case of the appellants and the findings of the Federal High Court made in respect of the issues placed before the trial court.
The appellants maintained that the Court of Appeal erred in law when they entertained the appeal of the 1st respondent and allowed even when the 1st respondent failed to lead any evidence at the trail court in support of The averments contained in its statement of defence.
They asked the apex court to allow the appeal in its entirety, an order setting aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal including the order as to costs and order affirming the judgment of the Trail Court.