A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has nullified the Ward and Local Government Congresses conducted by the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, for the nomination of its candidates for the Kogi State Governorship election billed for November 11.
In a judgement delivered by Justice James Omotosho, the Court held that the said congresses, held on February 7, were not conducted in compliance with provisions of both the Electoral Act 2022 and APC’s Constitution.
It, also ordered the leadership of the party to conduct fresh Ward and LGA congresses with strict adherence to Section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022 and Article 13 of the APC Constitution.
The judgement followed a suit filed before the Court by aggrieved members of the party led by one, Realwan Okpanachi.
The Court further held that there was merit in the case of the plaintiffs, and also barred the Independent National Electoral commission, INEC, from according recognition to any candidate of the party that emerge from any primary election conducted with the said unlawful list of delegates.
It said it was satisfied that the APC acted in breach of Section 84 of the Electoral Act and Article 13 of its own constitution by concocting a purported list of delegates and submitting same to INEC without the knowledge of registered members of the party in the state.
It noted that the party failed to by way of credible evidence, establish the venue the purported Ward and LG congresses were held, adding that APC was equally unable to adduce the report of INEC officials that purportedly monitored the elections.
More so, Justice Omotosho held that the APC failed to produce any resultsheet to show the scores recorded by the participants in the purported Ward and LG congresses.
He noted that the major document that was produced before the court to justify the conduct of the purported February 7 congresses, did not contain a single name of any human being, but signatures of imaginary participants at the purported congresses.
With the absence of names on the documents, the Judge held that the exhibit was worthless and without probate value, saying it was contrary to the provision of Section 133 of the Evidence Act.
Consequently, the Court directed the APC to conduct special Ward and LG congresses in the state, in line with provisions of the relevant laws, especially Section 84 of the Electoral Act and Section 13 of the party’s Constitution.
Other plaintiffs in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/329/2023, are; Yahaya Saidu Nuhu, Omaonu Clement Arome, Mustapha Ibrahim Idoko, Aku Umar Goodman and Abu Steven Okpanachi Onechiojo.
The APC and INEC were cited as the 1st and 2nd defendants, respectfully.
The Court had earlier in its judgement, dismissed a preliminary objection the APC filed to challenge the competence of the suit and the jurisdiction of the court to entertain it.
APC had among other things, insisted that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to institute the action, even as it queried the powers of the court to meddle in its domestic affair.