Kogi: Court Restrains APC, Others from Taking Final Decision on Method of Primary
A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained parties, in the suit challenging the planned adoption of the indirect primary mode by the Kogi State All Progressives Congress (APC), from proceedings with plans to reach final decision on the issue pending the determination of the suit.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo issued the order on Friday, while ruling on an ex-parte motion filed in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/833/2019 by some members of the APC in Kogi – Destiny Eneojoh Aromeh, Isah Abubakar, Noah Aku and Mrs. Joy Onu. The suit has only the APC as defendant.
The judge said: “I have gone through the processes filed and digested the written address. I am of the view that, in view of the urgency of the matter and the pending motion for interlocutory injunction, it will be better to give accelerated hearing to the motion and the originating summons filed by the plaintiffs.
“In the interest of justice, I will abridge the time within, which the defendant will respond to the main suit and the motion for interlocutory injunction, to 10 days, in view of the fact that, from the processes before me, the defendant’s primary is scheduled to hold on the 29th of August 2019.
“Meanwhile, this court, in order for any of the parties, especially the defendant, not to foist a fait accompli on the court, hereby orders that nothing must be done with regard to the res (subject of the dispute) of this suit until the hearing of the originating summons and motion on notice for interlocutory injunction on the 19th of August 2019.”
The plaintiffs had, in their ex-parte motion, prayed the court for an order of interim injunction, restraining the defendant by itself, its organs, agents or any person from adopting the indirect mode of primaries for the nomination of the governorship candidate in the forthcoming governorship primaries of 2019 in Kogi, pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The judge took arguments on Thursday on the ex-parte motion and fixed ruling for Friday.
Before the ruling, Damian Dodo (SAN) announced appearance for the defendant (APC) and said his client was challenging the propriety of the proceedings conducted by the court the previous day, on the grounds that they were conducted in its absence, even when the relief sought by the plaintiffs was directed at it (the party).
The judge however told Dodo that he would not allow his ruling to be arrested by anyone. He only recorded Dodo’s appearance for the APC and another lawyer, A. M. Adoyi (for party seeking to be joined) and then, proceeded to read the ruling.
At the conclusion of the ruling, the judge directed parties to file all necessary documents before the next date, because he was willing to hear and determine the case on time.
The plaintiffs are, by the suit, seeking to, among others, stop the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) from adopting the indirect primary model to select candidate for the August 29 primary ahead of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
They also argued that, in view of a pending case before another judge of the same Federal High Court, Abuja (Justice Okon Abang) in relation to the dispute over the leadership of the party in the state, it was wrong for a faction to take decision that will affect the entire party while the case was still undecided.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer, Oluwole Aladedoye told claimed that his clients are elected State Executive (SEC) members of the defendant (APC) in 2018. “They emerged as elected. After the election, the governor (of Kogi State) set up a parallel exco, excluding the plaintiffs from participating in the nomination and the matter is still pending before Justice Okon Abang of this same court.”
The plaintiffs want the court to determine whether the APC can adopt the indirect primaries with regard to the pendency of the suit filed by Haddy Ametuo, Salam Adejoh (suing for themselves and on behalf of other members) of the State Executive Council (SEC) elected on May 19, 2018.
They are also praying the court to determine whether the involvement of persons claiming to be members of the Kogi SEC, during the pendency of the suit, in the nomination of the governorship candidate would not amount to interference with the judicial process and run against the principle of subjudice, which would render the outcome of such primary illegal, null and void.
The plaintiffs are equally praying the court to determine whether the defendant can ignore the suit which seeks to determine the authentic members of the Kogi SEC, who constitute the delegates by adopting the indirect mode of the primary.
Meanwhile, the APC has reacted to the suit and prayed the court to either strike the suit out or dismiss it on the grounds that, not only do the plaintiffs lacked the locusstandi to initiate the suit, the court also lacked the jurisdiction to hear it.
In a notice of preliminary objection filed for the APC by Dodo, it was argued that the dispute as to the appropriate mode for the conduct of a political party’s primary election is an internal decision of a political party over which the court cannot exercise jurisdiction.
The party added: “the plaintiffs filed this suit to challenge the decision of the National Working Committee of the defendant to adopt indirect mode of conduct of primary election in the nomination of its candidate for the governorship election in Kogi State.
“The dispute as to the appropriate mode for the conduct of a political party’s primary election is an internal decision of the defendant’s National Working Committee. The plaintiffs do not have the requisite locus standi to commence and maintain this suit against the defendant.
“The plaintiffs are not parties to the suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/581/2018 between Haddy Ametuo &1other v. All Progressives Congress & two others, which they hinged this suit on. The plaintiffs do not have the requisite locus standi to commence and maintain this suit.
“The present suit is incompetent and rids this court of the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the suit. The plaintiff’s originating summons filed on 18th July2019 is an abuse of court process, having been accompanied by four different affidavits deposed to by four different deponents,” the APC said.
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