A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Monday dismissed a suit challenging the decision of the All Progressives Congress to adopt indirect primary for nominating its candidate for the forthcoming November 16, 2019 governorship election in Kogi state.
In a ruling, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, upheld the preliminary objections filed by the APC to challenge the suit, saying the suit had been caught by the statute of limitation.
Taiwo held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case on merit, having been statute-barred, saying, “it was needless to go into the propriety of the party’s choice of indirect primary.”
He held further that the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2019, was a pre-election matter which ought to have been heard and determined within 180 days as provided by Section 285(10) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The judge noted that although the suit was filed only on July 18, 2019, it was clearly premised on another one marked FHC/ABJ/CS/833/2019 which, instead of being determined within 180 days, was only ruled upon Monday.
In the judgment, the court dismissed the said foundational suit which was instituted by the chairman and secretary of a parallel executive committee of the APC in Kogi state, Haddy Ametuo and Tam Adejoh respectively, on the grounds of statute limitation.
The said foundational suit was instituted against the APC and Abdullahi Bello, who is the chairman of Governor Yahaya Bello-backed faction of the party in the state.
The Bello-led faction of the APC in the state is recognised by the national bodies of the party.
The APC, which opposed the two suits ruled upon by the court, was represented by Paul Daudu.
While delivering judgment on the suit challenging the APC’s adoption of indirect primaries in the state, Justice Taiwo held, “I do not intend to waste judicial time on this suit FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2019 in view of the ruling on the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/581/2018 read a few minutes ago, dismissing the suit for being caught by statute of limitation as provided under Section 285(10) of the Constitution.”
“It will be pointless to consider the proprietary of this suit when its foundational suit had been dismissed. The court, not being an academic institution, does not engage in academic exercise.
“This suit has been spent and its resolution has become unnecessary in view of my earlier judgment. Answering the questions will bear no consequence on the dispute between the parties.
“I therefore have no choice other than to dismiss the suit in its entirety and I, accordingly, dismiss it,” the judge further ruled.
The plaintiffs, represented by Oluwole Aladedoye, had urged the court to order the party not to adopt indirect primary to pave the way for a direct primary which would allow all card-carrying members of the party to vote.
He said if the National Working Committee of the party was not stopped, the party would go ahead to adopt indirect primary and his clients, not being the faction recognised by the national leadership of the party, would be “shut out” and not allowed to vote as delegates at the primary.
Aladedoye also said the party’s NWC adopted the indirect primary for the election in disregard to a pending suit on the disputed leadership of the party in the state.
Party rakes N363m
Meanwhile, ahead of the Kogi governorship primary, the APC had generated about N363 million from sixteen aspirant jostling for the ticket, even as its screening panel only cleared four aspirants for the exercise.
The four aspirants cleared to contest the primaries slated for this week Thursday include Bello, the incumbent governor; Hon. Hassan Abdullahi, Engr Abubakar Bashir and one Mrs Ekele Aishat Blessing.
The ruling party collected N22.5 million each from the sixteen aspirants which amounted to N363 million.
A document obtained by our correspondent Monday in Abuja, revealed that Prof Mohammed Seidu Onailu was not cleared for parading two different dates of birth. “The aspirant admits to it and has no reasonable explanation to give; not a financial member of the party and Incomplete nomination form.”
Usman Oyibe Jibrin was disqualified for discrepancy in the date of birth. “One, 16/09/1959, and on his passport, 16/09/1960. The aspirants admitted the error and apologised; not a financial member of the party, no evidence of support to the party and Invalid membership card.”
Mustapha Mona Audu was not cleared for invalid nomination process and “not a financial member of the party. No evidence of financial contribution to the party, certificate of birth or declaration of age not attached.”
Hadiza Iyoma Ibrahim, was disqualified for not having ” supporting document/credentials, buy only police extract, invalid nomination by members of the party and not a financial member of the party.”
Yahaya Odidi Audu, was not cleared for invalid declaration of age and not a financial member of the party.
Sani Lulu Abdullahi was not cleared for not being a financial member of the party and not registered in his ward.
Gen. Patrick Adenu Akpa, was screened out for “unsigned and invalid nomination form and not a financial member of the party.”
Engr. Danlami Umar Mohammed, was denied for not being “financial member of the party, invalid party membership card and invalid nomination.”
Yakubu Mohammed, was screened out for not being ” a financial member of the party and invalid nomination.”
Babatunde Ayo Kunle Irukera, was said to have an “invalid declaration of age, spent less than one year in the party and without waiver, Academic credentials and supporting documents not attached, committed party member and nomination form not duly signed.”
Rukkaya Ibrahim, was screened out for “incomplete nomination form, no PVC, invalid declaration of age and not a committed party member.”
Mohammaed Abubakar Audu, was not cleared for “invalid nomination form, not financial member of the party.”
The report further said “the committee received two separate sets of petitions against some of the aspirants and are hereby attached. The screening was concluded at about 9.30pm.
“We thank and appreciate the APC National Working Committee led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, for the confidence reposed on the chairman and members of the committee and hope that the committee’s recommendations will bring peace, harmony and unity that will ensure the victory of the party at the November 16 general election.”
The report was signed by Senator Hope Uzodinma (Chairman), Senator Abdullahi Gumel, Hon Bernard Mikko, Hon. Stella Okotete, Major General Cecil Esekhaigbe (rtd) and Dr. Adamu Abba who served as the committee’s secretary.
Amaechi, Abe differ
Meanwhile, the immediate past lawmaker representing Rivers South-eastsenatorial district, Senator Magnus Abe, has differed with Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi over alleged plan to conduct the APCcongresses in Rivers state.
In a statement Monday in Port Harcourt, the former lawmaker said theannouncement by the minister that the congresses would be conducted in Rivers was unacceptable.
Amaechi reportedly told his supporters shortly after his inauguration in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari that there would be congress in the state.
But Senator Abe faulted the position weekend when members of the APC visionary media team paid him a courtesy visit at his residence in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Parry Benson, the former lawmaker said rather than concentrate on achieving the needed contribution to national development, Amaechi was creating another avenue for tension and crisis in the political structure of the party.
He said: “Look at the state of our party here today in Rivers State, yet theMinister of Transportation, on assumption of office as Minister of Transportation; the first thing he did was to announce congresses in Rivers State and I ask myself, this was the same kind of behaviour that led the party to where it is.
“Everybody in Nigeria knows that the origin of the crisis in Rivers APC was from the congress and how the congress was handled and there are extant judicial pronouncements on the last congress, which the party was misled to ignore and we have all kept quiet in the hope that by keeping quiet, we will create room for resolution of some of these challenges, so that the party can move forward.
”Instead, you become more brazen in your challenge to the rights, feelings, and interest of others within the same political party. How do we do that and expect to make progress?
”What kind of congress? Is he the chairman of the party? Is he the National Working Committee? Is he the court? What gives him the power to come and announce congress on the day he was inaugurated as a minister?
”Rather than address the issues of the country and the issues of his ministry, the first thing he could do was to reopen the sourest point in the heart of members of the party. And it is on that basis that party members are deprived of all rights and benefits in the party we all suffered to build. Is that how to grow a political family? Is that how to grow politics? We will not accept that congress.
”Minister cannot sit in his office and make pronouncement on a matter in which he and several other people have interest; people have gone to court, people have fought for their rights in that congress and the same thing that he did before, by creating confusion in the first place, he is determined to continue to do it because he wants to prove to the world that he is a conqueror. As I said before, nobody can conquer Rivers people.”