Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The leadership crisis rocking the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took a dramatic twist yesterday as the Federal High Court, Asaba, sacked the Jones Erue-led state executive committee.
Also affected by the two-hour judgement delivered by the presiding judge, Justice Toyin Adegoke, were the ward and local government executives of the party, under the Erue-led state executive.
The court declared the plaintiff, Cyril Ogodo, the authentic chairman of APC, the main opposition party in the state.
The plaintiffs had sought 13 reliefs, among which are a declaration that the Ogodo-led executive committee was the authentic state executive of the APC.
They also prayed the court to declare as null, void and of no effect any and every action purportedly taken, initiated or carried out by the fourth defendant, Jones Erue, as chairman of the 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 the national chairman as chairman of the APC in Delta State, among other prayers.
The court granted all the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs.
Yesterday’s judgement has affected the re-election of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central, the election of a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Francis Waiva, and the election of three members of the Delta State House of Assembly, having emerged from the primaries conducted by the Erue-led state executives.
Also affected were the nomination of Great Ogboru, the governorship candidate; immediate past governor and senatorial candidate for Delta South, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; and Delta North senatorial candidate, Doris Uboh, among others.
However, counsel to the defendants, Dr. Okubor Nwachukwu, said the judgement would be tested at the Court of Appeal, expressing confidence that it would be set aside.
On his part, counsel to the plaintiffs, Roland Ekpe, said the judgement did not fall short of their expectations, noting that, by implication, the nomination of candidates who flew the flag of the party in the 2019 general election was null and void, having emerged from the primaries conducted by the Erue-led executive.
Also, Ogodo said justice had finally been served on the contentious state executive committee of the party, describing the judge as incorruptible, “who, despite all the intimidation and frivolous petitions, was able to deliver justice.”
Brother of the APC governorship candidate, Mr. Turner Ogboru, who was in court, urged Ogodo and his group not to rejoice yet, saying that the judgement was void ab-initio.
Mr. Ogboru said the verdict could not stand legal scrutiny at the Court of Appeal, stating that the court was wrong to nullify the primaries conducted by the National Working Committee of the party: “When we profile it, we will go on appeal. The beauty of our jurisprudence is that the first court has its right, but you have the upper court to correct all the errors of a lower court.
“There was no dependable evidence to make the judge reach this decision. The judgement is void ab-initio. It does not even need an appeal to set it aside because this court cannot sit as Court of Appeal over another Federal High Court judgment.”