A federal high court in Benin on Monday adjourned to July 6 ruling to decide whether to handoff or go ahead with a suit on the direct mode of primary election adopted by the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the nomination of the party’s governorship candidate.
The presiding judge, Mohammed Umar, adjourned the suit filed by the factional state deputy chairman of the party, Pastor Kenneth Asekomhe, and one of the governorship aspirants of the party, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, challenging the decision of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to adopt direct primary election for the nomination of its governorship candidate.
The defendants in the suit are APC, Adams Oshiomhole, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Inspector General of Police.
The plaintiffs had earlier filed an ex parte motion restraining the party from adopting the direct mode of the primary.
They also prayed the court to restrain INEC from monitoring the primaries, and the police from giving effect to the NWC’s direct primaries order.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, Roland Otaru, SAN, counsel to the 2nd Defendant, said he was not satisfied with the ruling of the Appeal Court on June 18 and has decided to approach the Supreme Court for further interpretations
He told the court that since the matter has been taken to the superior court, the Lordship should resign himself from the matter.
‘What happened in court today is that I filed an application for the stay of further proceedings predetermination of my appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal which was delivered on the 18 of June 2020 to the Supreme Court.
‘We are entitled to do that under the Constitution. We are entitled to do that under the rule of court. So, I am fortified to have filed the application having regards to the relevant laws.
‘We are appealing against it because my appeal was struck out at the Court of Appeal because they said I appealed in respect of the substantive matter.
‘I now said I was dissatisfied with that judgment because what I appealed upon was an issue of jurisdiction.
‘Basically, it is an issue of jurisdiction which is in relation to the internal or domestic affairs of a political party. Because how can a plaintiff be asking the court to direct the mode of primary to be conducted by a party and the Court of Appeal said we appealed in the respect of the substantive matter but I then said having regard to the decision of the superior court, they can even decide the matter at that level.
‘So, they struck out my appeal but my client has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court,’ he said
On his part, Ken Mozia, SAN, counsel to the Plaintiff, said since both parties could not reach an agreement on the matter, and they all agreed that the matter should be adjourned.
The Court of Appeal on June 18 set aside the lower court order restraining the APC from conducting the primary and returned the parties to the high court for the commencement of the substantive suit.