The Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed December 20 to deliver judgement in a suit challenging the emergence of Andy Uba as governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the forthcoming November 6 poll in Anambra State.
Mr Uba emerged as the APC’s candidate at a primary election held on June 26, 2021.
George Moghalu, an aspirant in the APC primary election, is challenging the process and the outcome of the primary election.
The judge, Inyang Ekwo, fixed December 20 for judgement after listening to final submissions from lawyers to parties on Monday.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Chris Uche’s appealed for a judgement date before the November 6 election.
Non-committal, Mr Ekwo said lawyers would be notified if the judgement is ready before December 20.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr Uche, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), informed the court that his client’s grouse was that the “so-called primary election”, which produced Mr Uba as APC’s candidate for the Anambra governorship poll, breached the Electoral Act and the APC guidelines for the conduct of the exercise.
In his arguments, Mr Uche referenced a report by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which allegedly declaring that the primary election did not take place up till 5.30 p.m. when its officials left the primary election venue.
This report, according to the plaintiff’s lawyer, corroborates his client’s claim that the APC did not hold a valid primary in Anambra State.
He urged the court to grant his client’s prayers, including nullifying the primary election and ordering a fresh one or making any order the court considered to be necessary.
Mr Uba’s defence team led by another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mahmud Magaji, argued that the plaintiff failed to establish that a valid primary was not held.
Mr Magaji contended that the plaintiff lacked the right to institute the suit to challenge a primary he did not participate in.
He urged the court to decline jurisdiction and dismiss the suit.
Similarly, the APC, through its lawyer, Vincent Otaokpokpo, urged the court to dismiss the case or convert suit to one that would require parties to lead oral evidence by calling witnesses.
In the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/648/2021, Mr Moghalu contended that the APC did not comply with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the APC’s regulations and guidelines in the conduct of its governorship primary in Anambra State.
Mr Moghalu urged the court to determine whether a political party that fails to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act (2010) the party’s constitution and its guideline, can validly field a candidate for the election.
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He prayed the court to declare that, by virtue of the APC’s alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the party’s regulations and guidelines in the conduct of its primary in Anambra State, Uba “is not a candidate at the said 6th November 2021 gubernatorial election or at any subsequent postponement.”
The plaintiff equally asked the court to declare that the APC was bound to comply with all the relevant legal provisions in the conduct of its primary election after having demanded and received N22.5million from him and other 13 aspirants.
He also asked court to, among others, declare that having allegedly failed to comply with the relevant applicable laws, the APC had no candidate for the forthcoming governorship election.
He therefore urged the court to order the party to refund the N22.5million he paid for the expression of interest and nomination forms.
Furthermore, he asked the court to grant a perpetual injunction to restrain Mr Uba from parading himself as the candidate of the APC in the forthcoming election.
“An order of mandatory injunction compelling INEC to delist the APC and Uba from the list of political parties and candidates for the election,” Mr Moghalu added.