Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Federal High sitting in Asaba, Delta State has put on hold further trial in a suit brought by Mr. Cyril Abeye Ogodo seeking to be recognised as the authentic Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state.
In the suit, Ogodo is seeking about 23 other reliefs, among which is a declaration that he is the authentic state chairman of the state APC, and that any and every action purportedly taken, initiated or carried out by the fourth defendant, Jones Erue as chairman of APC (first defendant) by the second defendant (national Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole) in Delta State following his purported inauguration, swearing-in and recognition and/or appointment by the national chairman as chairman of APC in Delta State is null, void and of no effect.
By implication, the suit is seeking the nullification of the emergence of Great Ogboru as governorship candidate, emergence of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege and Doris Uboh as senatorial candidates, as well as emergence of other candidates for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly in the 2019 general elections from the primaries conducted by the Jones Erue-led state executive committee.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the presiding judge, Justice T.B. Adegoke, informed the litigants and their counsel that there was a petition in respect of the matter before the Chief Justice of the High Court.
Justice Adegoke stated that the Chief Justice of the High Court told her about the petition which will be forwarded to her in due course, adding that trial in the matter could not continue until the determination of the said petition.
“The court will tarry a while in the hearing of this case pending the determination of the petition. The matter stands adjourned pending the administrative directive of the Chief Justice of the High Court,” she held.
At the last adjourned date on January 17, 2019, trial had commenced with the plaintiff, Ogodo, giving evidence in chief as led by his lead counsel, O.J. Oghenejakpor.
Tuesday’s proceedings were supposed to commence with the cross-examination of the plaintiff by the respondents’ counsels who were absent in court until the presiding judge announced the presence of a petition against the continuation of trial in the pre-election suit.
Even at the commencement of trial on January 17, the defendants and their counsel were not in court, leading counsel to the plaintiff, Oghenejakpor to ask the court to hold the view that the defence had abandoned trial, even as he requested the judge to grant that another notice be served on the defendants to put up appearance by Tuesday, January 22, 2019, to enable them to come and cross-examine the witness.
Oghenejakpor had also requested the judge to order that if they failed to put up appearance as directed by the court, the plaintiff should be allowed to address the court.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Oghnejakpor informed the court that the hearing notices were served on the defendants to appear in court for the purpose of cross-examination of the plaintiff.