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Court Rules Against Emerhor, Affirms Omo-Agege, Others as APC candidates

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A Federal High Court sitting in Warri, Delta state has affirmed the candidancy of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Rep member-elect, Rev Francis Waive and other APC candidates during the 2019 general elections as authentic candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC.

Delivering judgment on suit “NO FHC/WR/CS/88/2019: Otega Emerhor & Anr Vs INEC & Ors”, presiding judge, Justice Emeka Ewite held that candidates who emerged from the primaries conducted by the Gen. Lawrence Onoja committee appointed by the National Working Committee and supervised by INEC are the proper and authentic Candidates of the party.

Olorogun Otega Emerhor and Ima Niboro had approached the court to declare them and others under the Cyril Ogodo-led faction of the party as authentic candidate of the party for the 2019 general elections.

The plaintiffs also joined the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee of the APC as defendants in the case.

However, when the case came up for ruling on Tuesday, Emerhor brought an application to withdraw from the case, praying the court to discontinue with the case on ground that there is a subsisting Asaba FHC APC judgment, after the court had adopted written addresses from the counsel to the plaintiffs and defendants.

At this point, the defence counsel, Akintola, SAN objected to the application which the learned judge struck out and proceeded to give his ruling.

Striking out the fresh application to discontinue with the case brought by Emerhor at the last minute, the judge held that both the plaintiffs and defendants (Emerhor, Niboro, and Others as well as Omo-Agege, Waive and Others) mentioned in the suit were not parties to the Asaba judgement therefore cannot be bound by it.

The judge held that the suit by Emerhor and Others challenging Omo-Agege and Others candidacy was valid and cannot conflict with the Asaba judgement since they were parties to the Asaba Federal High Court case.

It held however that the primaries conducted by the Gen. Lawrence Onoja committee appointed by the National Working Committee and supervised by INEC was valid and legitimate and therefore upheld that the candidates that emerged under the primaries were the proper and authentic Candidates of the APC.

The judge further observed that Emerhor failed to deny the counter-affidavit filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, that it did not monitor the primary for which he purportedly emerged.

“Failure to deny the counter-affidavit is an admission which required no further proof that INEC only monitored the primaries in which Sen. Omo-Agege emerged. INEC is to supervise or monitor primary elections and not to conduct,” he said.

The court held that the failure to join Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Rev. Francis Waive and other Candidates of the party as necessary parties in the Federal High Court case has robbed the court of its jurisdiction to hear the matter as they cannot be bound by the decision taken.

The Court also held that the consent judgment of Justice A.I. Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja which was also a contending issue raised by Omo-Agege counsel is a valid and subsisting judgement that cannot be tampered with as Courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction, but can only be challenged on appeal to the Court of Appeal.

“The consent judgement is a judgement of court that is valid and binding on all persons until it is set aside. This judgement has given the party huge relief in determining who is the senatorial candidate in the 2019 general election in Delta Central,” he said.

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