Edo: Appeal Court Affirms Direct Primary for APC

Edo: Appeal Court Affirms Direct Primary for APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) had been cleared to hold direct governorship primary on Monday.

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Benin on Thursday set aside the June 8 judgment of the Federal High Court which restrained the party from conducting the exercise, using direct primary system.

Thea court however ordered that the federal high court in Benin to continue hearing the suit from today by first determining the jurisdiction.

The APC and its suspended National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, had appealed the FHC verdict on grounds of jurisdiction and other issues.

Presiding Justice Morenike Ogunwomiju, in her lead judgment, described as problematic, the order by Justice Mohammed Umar of the FHC, Ogunwomiju said: “The trial judge (Justice Umar) gave a problematic order that was not sought by the parties to the suit.

“As at the date (June 8), the order was given, the political party (APC in Edo State) had 14 days to organise its governorship primary. Every judge must be a democrat.

“The appellant (APC) was not given an opportunity to be heard by the trial court. The injunctive order of the trial court of June 8 is hereby set aside. The administrative orders subsist and the issue of jurisdiction should be determined by the trial court.”
She was supported by Justice Justice Sam Oseji.

In his dissenting judgment, Justice Moore Adumein declared that the injunctive order of the FHC ought not to have been set aside, insisting that the appeal was interlocutory, incompetent and should be struck out.

In a second suit filed by Oshiomhole, Justice Oseji, who declared that the appeal lacked merit, struck it out.

The members of National Working Committee (NWC) of APC had on May 21, declared that the governorship primary in Edo State would be by direct mode. But the allies of Governor Godwin Obaseki pushed for indirect mode.

But, baring last minute hitches, Obaseki and his deputy, Phillip Shaibu, will defect today to opposition PDP.

Obaseki and Shaibu resigned their membership of the APC on Tuesday, following the governor’s disqualification from participating in the June 22 primary in the state.

PDP’s governorship primary initially scheduled for today was on Thursday shifted to June 23 in what is believed to be a strategic move to make Obaseki’s absorption into the party seamless.

Pressure has since been mounted on the three PDP cleared governorship aspirants- Kenneth Imasuagbon, Gideon Ikhine and Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, to step down for the governor. But the three aspirants are insisting on testing their popularity among party members.

It could not be ascertained as of press time yesterday if Shaibu would be allowed to be the running mate of Obaseki, if he eventually becomes the PDP standard bearer.

PDP members and leaders who gathered yesterday at the party’s secretariat in Benin, the Edo State capital, to welcome Obaseki and his allies into their fold had waited for hours before they were informed that the ceremony had been shifted till today.

The National Vice Chairman, Southsouth, of the PDP, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi, confirmed the developments, and assured that everything would be hitch-free.

In Abuja, the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) which announced the postponement of the party’s governorship primary , predicated it on exigencies.

A statement on Thursday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, explained that the decision was arrived at during a series of meetings between some leaders of the party and Obaseki.

The NWC enjoined all the party’s governorship aspirants, critical stakeholders, party faithful, and supporters in Edo state, to adjust to the June 23 date.

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