Court restrains INEC, APC from conducting congresses in Imo

The Federal High Court Abuja yesterday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress and the national chairman of the APC not to conduct any congress in Imo until August 21.
The court also ordered the plaintiffs, Osita Izunaso, Ben Uwajimogu, Mathew Omegara, Hilary Ekeh and Patrick Uzoukwu to maintain status quo until August 21.
The judge, Babatunde Quadri, gave the order following an application by Ahmed Raji, counsel to the plaintiffs.
Mr. Raji asked the court to order that all parties be restrained from conducting any primaries in the state, ward or local government until the next adjourned date of the suit.
He said if such an order was not made and the defendants went ahead to conduct the primaries before the next adjourned date, the suit would become an academic exercise.
Raji told the court that although the defendants were duly served with an order of court stopping them from conducting congresses on July 20, they went ahead to conduct the congresses.
The lawyer argued that on July 23, the plaintiffs filed a motion ex parte praying the court to set aside the purported congresses.
He said they further asked the court for an order of injunction restraining APC and its chairman from recognizing and swearing in those purportedly elected at the congresses.
“The court, however, in its wisdom refused to grant this order and ordered us to put them on notice, and we did and duly served all processes on them, but there has been no response from them,” he said.
Responding, counsel to the defendants, Oladipo Okpeseyi, told the court that he had just been briefed about the matter.
In the originating summons, the plaintiffs formulated four questions for the court to determine.
One of the questions is: that having regard to an appeal pending before the Court of Appeal in Owerri, whether INEC has the power to monitor the state, ward and local government congresses of the APC of July 20.
“Whether the APC and its chairman have the powers to lawfully schedule or conduct the state, ward and local government primaries in the state without 21 days’ notice given to INEC in line with mandatory provisions of section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010,’’ it said.

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