by crossriverwatch admin
The legal battle in the case filed by the newly registered All Progressives Congress, APC to nullify the decision of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, CROSIEC that APC is ineligible to contest the September 21 Local Government Council Elections in Cross River State, began in the High Court , Calabar today.
The case was heard by Honourable Justice Ofem Ikpi Ofem who is the vacation judge.
One of the issues that confronted the Court was whether or not the 1st Defendant (CROSIEC) was served with the Originating Summons and other processes filed by the APC.
The lead Counsel to CROSIEC, Barrister Ikoi Ikona had raised an objection to the suit filed by APC on the ground of non service of the Originating Processes.
Barrister Ikona submitted that CROSIEC was not properly served because the bailiff did not serve the processes on the Secretary of CROSIEC as provided by Law.
He said that the bailiff merely dumped the processes in the security post leading to the Head Office of CROSIEC.
He submitted that dumping of the process by the bailiff in the security post is not good service.
In their reply, the APC legal team led by Barrister Matthew Ojua; Chief Okoi Obono-Obla; Barrister Chinenye Ugochukwu and Ibiang Mgbe submitted that CROSIEC was served with the processes on the 29th of August, 2013.
They submitted that the bailiff was compelled to dump the processes meant for service on CROSIEC at its’ security post since the Secretary of CROSIEC had bluntly refused to collect them.
According to them, the bailiff said the CROSIEC Secretary ordered the security to walk him out and locked the gate against him.
They finally submitted that the bailiff’s affidavit of proof of service is the best evidence the Court should rely on to establish whether or not CROSIEC was indeed served.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Ofem held that from the bailiff affidavit of proof of service filed on the 29th of August, 2013, CROSIEC was served on the same date.
The judge further held that in the face of hostilities and difficulties encountered by the court bailiff in effecting service on CROSIEC, the dumping of the processes meant for service on CROSIEC at its security gate was proper and good service on CROSIEC.
The judge therefore dismissed the objection and ordered CROSIEC to file its defence and adjourned the matter to 12th of September, 2013 for hearing.
In another matter, the Court granted the application of APC that Suit No. HC /305/2013 be heard during the legal vacation.
The APC in Suit No. HC/305/2013, is seeking for extension of time for the Party to field candidates for the September 21 local government polls based on the fact that the party was registered on 31st of July, 2013.
The case has also been adjourned to 12th of September, 2013 for continuation.
The All Progressive Congress had dragged CROSIEC to the High Court in Calabar to contest its exclusion from the Local Government Elections scheduled for September 21, 2013.
In the Suit No.FHC/CA/CS/2013, the APC, the claimant in the originating summons pursuant to Order 7, Rule 5 of the Cross River State of Nigeria 2008, asked the court to cause the appearance of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, People’s Democratic Party, PDP, National Conscience Party, NCP, Labour Party LP, and the Progressive People’s Alliance as the Defendants to within 8 days of the receipt of the summons.
The APC in the suit is asking for the determination of the following questions:
“Whether the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) are applicable to the conduct of the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria?
“Whether the provision of Section 84 (2) of the Electoral Act (supra) requires political parties that are merging to submit an application to the Independent National Electoral Commission not later than 90 days before a general election, is applicable to the conduct of the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria?
“Whether the 1st Defendant has the power to deny the Claimant participation in the Local Government Elections scheduled for the 21st September, 2013 on the ground that the Claimant was registered on the 31st July, 2013 and therefore not eligible to participate in the elections?
The party also seeks claims against the Defendants asking the court to declare as follows: that the decision of the 1st Defendant (CROSIEC) not to allow the Claimant to participate in the Local Government Elections scheduled for the 21st Day of September, 2013 is “wrongful, illegal, wanton, capricious and unconstitutional, null and void”.
The APC also seeks the court to make a declaration to the effect that it, APC, as a registered political party in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is eligible to participate in the Local Government Elections scheduled for the 21st September 2013 in Cross River State of Nigeria by sponsoring or nominating candidates to contest under its platform.
Another demand of the APC is a declaration that the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) are not applicable and relevant to the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria.
“A declaration that it is the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission Law, Cap C18, 2004 that regulates the conduct of the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria.
“A Mandatory Order of Injunction restraining the 1st Defendant from conducting the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria without the participation of the Claimant.
“A Mandatory Order of Injunction restraining the 1st Defendant from conducting the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria without the candidates sponsored or nominated by the Claimant.
Dated on the 25th of August, and filed by Chief Okoi Obono Obla of Trinity House Mabushi, the party claims in the suit that it would suffer incalculable damage if not allowed to participate in the election.
follow us on twitter @crossriverwatch
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.