Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Federal High Court sitting, in Asaba, Delta State, on Wednesday, urged parties to the factional crisis rocking the state chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a substantive suit seeking the recognition of candidates presented by Cyril Ogodo-led State Working Committee (SWC) for all elective positions in the 2019 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Ogodo-led faction had filed the suit which is praying the court to restrain the national leadership of APC from submitting candidates’ names that emerged from primaries conducted by the Jones Erue-led SWC to INEC.
Joined in the suit as respondents are APC as first respondent; national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole as second respondent; INEC as third respondent; and Jones Erue as fourth Respondent.
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The court preside over by Justice Toyin Adegoke ordered all the parties to suit to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the substantive suit.
In a ruling, Justice Adegoke held that the issue was a pre-election matter which required accelerated hearing, and adjourned the substantive suit to November 1, 2018.
“This matter shall be given an accelerated hearing owing to the fact that it is a pre-election matter. All defendants are to take note of the tendencies of this suit.
“Parties shall maintain status quo as at today, the 17 day of October 2018. That is the order of this court,” Adegoke ruled.
Reacting, counsel to the applicants, Barr. O.J. Oghenejakpor said the implication is that, as at today, no list of candidate has been submitted to INEC and none will be submitted until we hear this case.
“Technically, the court has granted an injunction restraining any person to nominate any candidate from Delta State for the 2019 election. The issue will have to await for the substantive trial which is now November 1 and 2.
“Court has also granted us an accelerated hearing so that the facts can be put to rest once and for all. Its a healing process and I think if the national executives could take opportunity of this process, this is what will bring the party together in Delta State,” Oghenejakpor said.
On his part, counsel to the first and second respondents, Barr. George Onaho who had challenged the jurisdiction of the court, said “the court has done the needful and in the view of the court, our objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court has to wait and be adopted together with our final written address after the substantive suit must have been heard.
“So, that necessitated the adjournment that was taken. The court ordered an accelerated hearing and gave two days to call in witnesses and deal with the case,” Onaho said.