By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin City
The Federal High Court sitting in Benin City on Monday adjourned hearing on an exparte motion that wants to restrain the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress and the party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, from using direct primaries to elect Edo State governorship candidate of the party till Thursday, June 11.
Also joined in the suit marked FHC/B/CS/48/2020 which is filed by two chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Kenneth Asekhome and Matthew Iduoriyeknmwen who is also a governorship aspirant are Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Inspector General of Police.
Also, three other aspirants; Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Pius Odubu, and Osaro Obazee are seeking to join the suit as the fifth, sixth and seventh defendants through a motion on notice before the court but the application was not heard because the court said it wasn’t ripe for hearing.
Justice Mohammed Umar adjourned the matter on Monday, to allow the parties in the suit to be served the relevant papers.
He ruled that “The motion for joinder filed by the party seeking to be joined is not ripe for hearing. Party will be heard on joinder at the appropriate time.
“All parties in the suit are not to do anything contrary to the procedure and hearing of the suit and parties are hereby directed to file all papers and exchanged the same within two days and suit adjourned to 11/08/2020 for the hearing of all pending applications.”
However, there was a mild drama before the sitting when all journalists were excused from the courtroom as officials of the court insisted that the presiding judge said he would not appear except not less than 20 persons were seated including court staff in line with Covid-19 regulation.
At the end of the court sitting, lawyers who spoke to journalists gave different accounts of what happened inside the courtroom.
Counsel to the Applicants, Ken Mozia (SAN) said “Several processes were filed and commenced arguments on the exparte application for an injunction, they were ordered to show cause why the injunction should not be granted today, two of the parties did, two did not so there was arguments about the proper procedure to be adopted the court rose and wrote a ruling that pending the hearing and determination of the main case, that APC as a party should refrain from taking any steps to implement any decision with regards to the mode of primaries to be adopted. The main case has been shifted to Thursday, June 11th.”
On his part, Counsel to the 1st Defendant (APC), Henry Ogbodu (SAN) said: “The proceeding for today is okay, there is no problem, it said we should file all our papers in two days so that we will join issues and the court will take all the submissions.”