All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta state has been thrown into confusion following judgement by the Appeal Court sitting in Benin, Edo State, which upheld earlier decision of the Federal High Court, Asaba restraining the party from submitting names of candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the forthcoming general elections.
The Appeal Court in its ruling Thursday also described the application brought before it by the Chief Great Ogboru/Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s faction and the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) challenging the lower court’s ruling as lacking in merit and grossly incompetent.
Ruling on the case with the suit No. CA/B/541/2018 between APC and AVR vs Chief Cyril Ogodo and others, the Appeal Court also particularly held that the lower court’s ruling of August 17, 2018 on “No Submission of Name to INEC” by both factions of the party is still binding.
Justice Toyin Adegoke of the Federal High Court, Asaba, had in a ruling, ordered the APC National Chairman, Oshiomhole, INEC, Prophet Jones Erue and Plaintiffs in the case to maintain status quo and desist from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State from both factions to INEC till determination of the substantive suit.
The Chief Cyril Ogodo-led State Working Committee, backed by Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and others had approached the court seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the APC and Adams Oshiomhole from nominating any candidate from Prophet Jones Erue.chaired faction to INEC.
Reading the judgement on behalf of the three-man panel, Hon Justice M.A.A. Adumein said there was no issue upon which an appeal can even lie in the suit filed by APC and its national chairman (Oshiomhole) and subsequently struck out the case.
Justice Adumein noted that the appellants did not sort the leave of the lower court or Appeal Court before instituting the case, declaring that the ruling of Federal High Court on August 17, 2018 still subsist and binding on all parties.
The judge subsequently dismissed the case with a fine of N300, 000 against the appellants (APC and Oshiomhole).
Independent investigation made by WARRI TODAY indicates that with the judgement, the Delta State APC has no candidates for the 2019 general elections in the state as any name submitted to INEC while the ruling is still standing amounts to nullity.
“Delta APC has no candidate pending the determination of the subsisting case challenging the legitimacy of the faction led by Prophet Erue.
The ruling has since sparked fear among leaders of the party both at the state and national levels.
But reacting to the judgement, the state chairman of the party, Prophet Jones Erue, said the appeal court did not rule that the party has no candidate for the general elections.
Erue, in a statement signed by State Publicity Secretary, Barr. Sylvester Imonina, noted that reports making the rounds that the Court of Appeal declared that Delta APC has no candidates for the elections was misrepresentation of the judges’ true position.
According to it, “The appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress through their lawyer Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) was against the order/decision of the Federal High Court, Asaba presided over by the Honourable Justice TB Adegoke to handle the case filed before her by Chief Cyril Ogodo as a pre election matter.
“It was these orders made by the trial judge TB Adegoke on the 17th October 2018 and 1st November 2018 respectively as to procedure to be adopted by the trial court that was appealed against by the APC. And in their well considered judgement, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on the ground that the Appellants failed to seek leave before appealing and the orders made by the trial court on the 17th October 2018 and 1st November, 2018 remains valid, effectively sending the case back to the Federal High Court Asaba for continuation of the trial of the case before Hon. Justice TB Adegoke.
“The judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered today DID NOT make any order/decision on the candidacy of the Party candidates for the 2019 general elections. The implication of the judgement is; the trial court is to continue with the case filed by Chief Cyril Ogodo.
“No order or orders was made by the court of appeal with respect to the candidates of the Party for the 2019 general elections as the issue was never argued before the Court of Appeal.”
The statement described as spurious and malicious “…misleading online publication by some mischievous and disgruntled elements to the effect that the Party in Delta State has no candidates for the 2019 general elections as a result of the judgement of the Court of appeal delivered today.
“This is not only an erroneous claim, but a total and complete falsehood and an evil misrepresentation of the judgement of the Court.”