By Archibong Jeremiah
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Bwari, on Thursday, ordered the National Working Committee, NWC, of the All Progressive Congress, APC, to recognise the list of candidates for the 2019 general election in Cross River State, submitted by the Chief Etim John led executives of the party.
Justice Othman Musa gave the order while delivering judgement in a suit that was filed by three chieftains of the party in the state, Sylvester Okpo (APC Cross River South Senatorial District, Vice Chairman), Eugenia Takon (APC Cross River State ex-officio) and Charles Asim (APC Cross River State Youth Leader).
The Plaintiffs who sued for themselves and on behalf of all the executives and delegates at the Cross River State APC Ward, Local Government and State congresses, which were held on May 5, 12 and 19, 2018, cited the APC as the only Defendant in the matter.
In the suit marked FCT/HC/BW/CR/106/18 the litigants prayed the court to among other things, declare that the APC, “cannot lawfully nullify the election of the Cross River State Executives, duly elected during the state congress organized on May 19, 2018 by the Cross River State Congress Committee duly appointed by the defendant and led by Hon. Adamu Hussyne as Chairman, and in compliance with the Constitution of the defendant, under Article 20 of the Constitution of the APC , 2014 (as amended ), considering that there is no lawful complaint pending against the election, the Appeal Committee of the APC having found no irregularity against the election”.
Justice Musa dismissed a preliminary objection the APC lodged to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.
The court disagreed with the party that issues the Plaintiffs raised in the suit were within the realm of internal affairs of a political party.
Justice Musa held that from the Originating Summons before the court, the issue at stake was alleged breach of the constitution of the party.
He held that the Ward, Local Government and State Congresses that held on 11th/12th, 15th/16th and 19th of May, 2018 respectively, conducted by the Committee that was duly appointed by the Defendant, were valid, lawful and in compliance with Article 20 of the Constitution of the APC, 2014 (as amended).
The court equally held that the Plaintiffs who were duly elected as the Cross River State executives in the election held on May 19, 2018, are entitled to four years tenure in office as provided by the party’s constitution.
Besides, the court held that neither the APC nor any of its organs, including the NWC can lawfully interfere with the result of the election of the Cross River state executives or annul the Congresses.
Consequently, the court granted an order nullifying the decision of the NWC of APC made on August 1, 2018, which purported to cancel or annul the state congress of the Defendant in Cross River State conducted on May 19, 2018.
The court also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant, including its NWC, from interfering with the tenure, rights and duties of the Plaintiffs as Cross River State Executives of the APC.
Culled from Vanguard Newspaper.
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