By Onome Oghenetega
A Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, the Delta State capital has sacked the Prophet Jones Erue-led state executive committee of the All Progressives Congress including the wards and Local Government executives that emanated from that faction of the party in the state.
The state APC has been embroiled in leadership crisis and the crisis on Monday took a different twist following the judgment delivered Justice Toyin Adegoke nullifying the existence of the Erue-led leadership in the state.
Justice Adegoke in a two-hour judgment delivered on Monday, however, declared the plaintiff, Cyril Ogodo as the authentic chairman of the main opposition party in the state.
In suit number FA/ASA/CS/76/2018, the plaintiffs had sought 13 reliefs among which is a declaration that the Ogodo-led executive committee is the authentic state executive of the party.
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 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 APC in Delta State.
The plaintiffs further prayed the court to declare the candidates that emerged from the primaries conducted by the Ogodo-led executive as the authentic list of candidates for the 2019 general elections.
The court in the judgment, granted all the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs.
Monday’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 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; Delta north senatorial candidate, Doris Uboh among others.
But counsel to the defendants, Dr. Okubor Nwachukwu said the judgment will be tested at the Court of Appeal, expressing confidence that it will be set aside.
On his part, counsel to the plaintiffs, Roland Ekpe said the judgment 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 elections is null and void having emerged from the primaries conducted by the Erue-led executive.
Also reacting, Cyril Ogodo said justice has finally be served on the contentious state executive committee of the party, describing the judge as incorruptible, “despite all the intimidation and frivolous petitions, justice was delivered.”
Speaking in his capacity, brother to the governorship candidate, Mr. Turner Ogboru who was at the court, urged Ogodo and his group not to rejoice yet, saying that the judgment is void ab-initio.
Mr. Ogboru said the judgment cannot stand legal scrutiny at the Court of Appeal, stating that the court was wrong to nullify the primaries conducted by the National Working Committee (NWC) 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 judgment 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.
“There is a Federal High Court subsisting judgment which has not be set aside, it is a consent judgment of which no appeal has be done against,” Ogboru said.