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Delta APC: Appeal court sacks Ogodo-led executive

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…affirms Erue-led excos

The Appeal Court sitting in Benin on Friday affirmed the Prophet Jones Erue-led State Working Committee as the duly elected State Executives of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Delta State.

This followed an appeal filed by the Erue executive against the judgment of the Asaba Federal High Court which declared Cyril Ogodo-led faction as the legally elected executives of the party.

The court’s judgment has affirmed the candidacy of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and all candidates that emerged in the primaries conducted by the Prophet Jone Erue led executive committee.

Delivering judgment in separate suit filed by the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) and the APC against the Asaba judgment, the appellate court nullified the Asaba High Court judgment that sacked Prophet Erue as the legally elected State Executives of the Delta State APC.

In the unanimous judgment read by Justice Mohammed Shaibu and Justice C.N Uwa, the court ruled that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit as it bordered on intra-party matter.

The court stated that failure of the respondents to file their suit within 14 days of the issue complained of (pre-election) extinguished their rights.

It said the respondents lack locus standi to contest the primary they did not participate‎ in and held that the respondents’ non-compliance with section 97 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act breached was a fundamental breach of the law.

Justice Shaibu noted that the statutory provision of writ of summons was not complied with, as the writ was not endorsed.

According to him, “Election matters are time bound. Failure not to have filed within 14 days worked against them.

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In the instant case, the respondents were neither aspirants‎ nor contestants” and therefore lack locus standi to challenge the action of the APC.

The appeal is allowed. The judgment of the lower court is‎ hereby struck out for lack of jurisdiction, the court held and awarded N100,000 costs against the respondents.

Justice Uwa ruled, “The lower court was wrong, the judgment is a nullity and is herbey set aside. The action against the appellants is set aside.

Counsel to the appellants, Friday Iziyon, said the judgment has restored the leadership of Prophet Erue and that all candidates that emerged from the primaries are authentic.

The court set aside the judgement of the High Court in Asaba. The writ of summons was not empowered by law and it was statute bar because it was not filed within 14 days. Thirdly, the issues were not justiciable. They are issues that rest at the realm of the party level.

The judgement basically showed that the issue of the Executive Committee of the APC in Delta State is not an issue the trial court should entertain because it is an intra-Party affair and as such, it is not justiciable. The judgment of the lower court was overturn.

This translate to the fact that the Delta State APC Executive led by Prophet Jones Erue is the legally recognized body. It also means the candidature of those that emerged in the primaries it conducted is upheld by this judgment.

Senator Omo-Agege who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Communication, Mr. Godwin Anaughe, assured his constituents that the mandate given to him is intact.

We welcome the judgement. We applaud the justice done by the court. The election of Senator Omo-Agege was never in jeopardy. We have confidence in the judgment.”

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