…court fixes Nov 4 for hearing
By Samuel Oyadongha – Yenagoa
A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa yesterday fixed Nov 4, 2019, to commence hearing in a suit filed by Sen Heineken Lokpobiri challenging the September, 4 governorship primaries conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State.
Lokpobiri who approached the court to challenge the emergence of Mr. David Lyon as APC’s candidate had brought a motion seeking an order of the court to abridge the mandatory period for respondents in the suit from 21 to seven days and an accelerated hearing of the case.
Listed as respondents in the case are All Progressive Congress, David Lyon, and Independent National Electoral Commission.
Lokpobiri had claimed that he won the Sept. 4 primary conducted by APC using the direct primary mode.
Counsel to Lokpobiri , FB Olorogun had in his argument on the motion on notice urged the court to expedite the hearing as the governorship election, central to the litigation has been scheduled for Nov. 16, 2019.
However, Counsel to APC, Sydney Ibanichuka submitted that though the election has been fixed, the respondents were entitled to exhaust the 21-day time window allowed by the rules of the court to respond to the claims of the plaintiff.
Ruling on the motion, Justice Jane Inyang noted that though time was of the essence in the substantive case, the principle of fair hearing demands that the respondents give reasonable time within her discretion to respond.
Inyang, therefore, abridged the 21-day time frame for respondents to file a response to 14 days and adjourned to Nov 4 for hearing.
“In view of all the circumstances and the time frame, I have in the exercise of my discretionary powers to abridge the time required for parties to respond to motions and applications which must be judiciously exercised abridged the time to 14 days.
“I have also resolved that all pending motions will be consolidated and dealt with and the substantive suit will be dealt with, so the next adjourned date is a day of reckoning,” Inyang said.
Aspirants who participated in the Sept 4 primary in Bayelsa include Lokpobiri, immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture, Preye Aganaba, Ebitimi Amgbare, Diseye Poweigha, David Lyon and Ongoebi Etebu.