Edo APC primaries: Let’s close ranks, says Pastor Ize-Iyamu
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu

By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin-City

The Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City has declared Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu an authentic member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and that he is qualified to contest in the coming governorship election as a member of the party.

The presiding Judge, Justice Emmanuel Ahamiojie, in his ruling also said the issue of granting of a waiver is a matter that is subject to every political party and that it is not for the court to determine who is to be given waiver or not.

He said “I hereby declare that the Osagie Ize-Iyamu (third defendant) is qualified to contest being a registered member of the All Progressives Congress”.

Recall that the state deputy chairman of the party, Kenneth Asekomhe, now expelled by the party; Benjamin Oghumu, Matthew Ogbebor, and Unweni Nosa, had instituted the suit challenging the decision of the APC for granting a waiver to Ize-Iyamu, to make him eligible to contest the APC primary election.

Defendants in the suit are the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, and Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

The claimants argued that any waiver purportedly granted by the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole without the approval of the National Executive Committee of the APC and without Osagie Ize-Iyamu formally applying for such waiver through his claimed ward, local government area is null, void and of no effect.

Addressing journalists shortly after the delivery of the judgment, Counsel to the 1st and 2nd Defendants, Victor Ohiosumua, said the Lordship in his ruling said the court has no jurisdiction to dabble into what should be the internal affairs of any political parties.

He said “You are aware that we took all our preliminary objections and we also took the originating summons. So, both processes were consolidated.

“So, your Lordship has considered all the processes filed by both parties and he has come to the legal conclusion and very erudite judgment that he has no jurisdiction in determining who a member of a political party is and this is in line with the lightening of cases as your Lordship said basket full of cases in the Supreme Court that membership of political party is an internal affairs of the party.

“So, he has reaffirmed those precedents and said he has no jurisdiction to know who is a member but however, to be on the side of caution, he also delved into the merit of the case assuming I have jurisdiction, is this case worth his while?

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“He has come to the conclusion that pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is a registered member of APC and he is qualified to contest the primary that was held last Monday. So, all issues about membership has now been resolved”, he said.

Corroborating what the Counsel to the 1st and 2nd Defedants said, Henry O. Ogbodu, SAN, Counsel to Ize-Iyamu, advised political parties to ensure they resolve their problems internally instead of dragging the court into their political squabbles, noting that the court is already over burden with cases.

“I am absolutely satisfied. Number one, politicians by this judgment, should learn to settle their difference themselves.

“They should learn how not to drag the judiciary into their internal party affairs or political squabbles.

“We have had enough of internal squabbles of political parties. Political leaders should learn how to resolve their difference outside the judiciary and not because we don’t have confidence in the judiciary, we maintain the confidence there but they had better resolve it in order not to heat up the polity.

“It is not at every turn, you run to court over a baseless action of membership of a voluntary organization like APC”, Ogbodu said.

But Counsel to the plaintiffs, Barr. Owotori Santus, he would study the judgment and that what should be done next would be subjected to the decision of his clients.

“The court held that it doesn’t have jurisdiction to determine the membership of a political party and that issue of waiver is an internal affair of the political party.

“It has been delivered. We will look at it, glance through the reasons the court gave and discuss with our clients and move ahead”, he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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