Tension grips Delta APC over Appeal Court’s ruling on candidate list

PALPABLE tension has engulfed the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) following Thursday’s judgement by the Appeal Court sitting in Benin, Edo State.

The court had upheld an earlier decision of the Federal High Court, Asaba, restraining the party from submitting names of candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 general elections.

The Appeal Court, on Thursday, had described, as lacking in merit and grossly incompetent, the application brought before it by the Chief Great Ogboru/Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s faction and the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) challenging the lower court’s ruling.

Ruling on the case with the suit No. CA/B/541/2018 between APC and AVR vs Chief Cyril Ogodo and others, the Appeal Court also particularly held that the lower court’s ruling of August 17, 2018, on “No Submission of Name to INEC” by both factions of the party is still binding.

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Justice Toyin Adegoke of the Federal High Court, Asaba, had, in a ruling, ordered the APC National Chairman, Oshiomhole, INEC, Prophet Jones Erue and Plaintiffs in the case to maintain status quo and desist from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State from both factions to INEC till determination of the substantive suit.

The Chief Cyril Ogodo-led State Working Committee, backed by Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and others, had approached the court, seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the APC and Oshiomhole from submitting names of candidates from the Prophet Erue-led faction to INEC.

Delivering the judgement on behalf of the three-man panel, Hon Justice M.A.A. Adumein, said there was no issue upon which an appeal could even lie in the suit filed by APC and its national chairman (Oshiomhole) and subsequently struck out the case.

Justice Adumein noted that the appellants did not seek the leave of the lower court or Appeal Court before instituting the case, declaring that the ruling of Federal High Court on August 17, 2018, still subsists and binding on all parties.

The judge subsequently dismissed the case with a fine of N300, 000 against the appellants (APC and Oshiomhole).

Meanwhile, the news of the ruling has been generating tension across the state as it was gathered that APC leaders in the state are going into emergency meetings to avoid another Rivers State situation.

Reacting to the judgement, the Delta State APC debunked reports that the Court of Appeal, Benin-City, on Thursday ruled that the party has no candidate in the state ahead of next month’s general elections.

The party in a statement on Friday described the reports as “malicious, vexatious and misleading.”

It noted that the report was sponsored by “some mischievous and disgruntled elements” in the state.

The statement, which was issued by the publicity secretary of the party, Sylvester Imonina, stated that “it is not only an erroneous claim but a total and complete falsehood and an evil misrepresentation of the judgement of the court.”

Imonina, a lawyer, in the statement, opined that “the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress through their lawyer Chief Adeniyi (SAN) Akintola was against the order/decision of the Federal High Court, Asaba, presided over by the Honourable Justice TB Adegoke to handle the case filed before her by Chief Cyril Ogodo as a pre-election matter.

“It was these orders made by the trial judge T. B. Adegoke on the 17th October 2018 and 1st November 2018 respectively as to the procedure to be adopted by the trial court, that was appealed against by the APC.

“And in their well-considered judgement, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on the ground that the Appellants failed to seek leave before appealing and the orders made by the trial court on the 17th October 2018 and 1st November 2018 remains valid, effectively sending the case back to the Federal High Court Asaba for continuation of the trial of the case before Hon. Justice TB Adegoke.”

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