A federal Capital Territory High Court has ordered the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to recognise the list of candidates submitted by the Etim John-led state executive in Cross River State for the 2019 elections.
The court held that the ward, local government and state congresses held on May 11, 12, 15, 16 and 19, conducted by a committee duly appointed by the party were valid and lawful.
It added that they were in compliance with Article 20 of the Constitution of the APC, 2014/(as amended).
Justice Usman Othman, who delivered the judgment yesterday, affirmed the congresses, as well as the outcome, on the ground that the claimants were duly elected as the state executives in the election.
By that, he said, the executives were entitled to four years tenure in office as provided for by the party’s constitution.
The court further held that neither the APC, nor any of its organs, including the NWC, could lawfully interfere with the results of the election of the state executives, or annul the congresses.
The court also granted an order nullifying the decision of the NWC of APC made on August 1, which sought to cancel, or annul the state congress of APC in Cross River State conducted on May 19.
The court also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, including its NWC from interfering with the tenure, rights and duties of the claimants as the Cross River State executives.
The court orders were the outcome of the suit filed by three chieftains of the party in the state, including Sylvester Okpo, Eugenia Takon and Charles Asim.
The three had instituted the legal action against the NWC, and on behalf of all the executives and delegates at the Cross River state APC wards, local government and state congresses held on May 5, 12 and 19.
The claimants in their suit, had asked the court among others demands, to declare that NWC cannot lawfully nullify the election of the Cross River State executives, duly elected during the state congress organised on May 19 by the Cross River State congress committee.
The committee, they insisted, was duly put in place by the defendant (NWC) and led by Adamu Hussyne as Chairman.
The APC had, however at the argument stage, opposed the application on ground that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter, as “the issue in question was an internal affairs of the party.”
But Justice Othman held that the statute, which created the court, empowered it to entertain such matter.