Court to hear suit against Edo APC gov candidate May 8

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed May 8, 2024, for hearing on the suit challenging the emergence of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State, Monday Okpebholo.

The suit was filed by one of the aspirants who participated in the primary election, Anamero Dekeri.

Dekeri is urging the court to overturn the declaration of Okpebholo as the party’s governorship candidate.

Dekeri, a House of Representatives member representing Etsako Federal Constituency, was one of the aspirants earlier declared winner in the state governorship primary election.

Ojo Babatunde, representing all the local government returning officers, stated that Dekeri polled 25,384 votes to beat Dennis Idahosa who polled 14,127 votes to second place.

However, the Chairman of the primary election committee and governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, declared Idahosa the winner of the exercise while the returning officer for the election, Stanley Ugboaja, declared Okpebholo as the APC candidate.

The National Working Committee of the party subsequently declared the election inconclusive and ordered a supplementary election.

On February 23, the chairman of the APC supplementary primary election and governor of Cross River, Bassey Otu, declared Okpebholo the winner of the election.

In a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/299/2024, Dekeri prayed the court to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission from recognising Okpebholo as the APC candidate.

He also urged the court to declare the primary election that produced Okpebholo as unconstitutional, undemocratic, null, and void.

The APC, INEC, and Okpebholo are the first to third defendants, respectively.

The reliefs partly read, “A declaration that the first defendant does not possess the vires, power or authority to forward to the second defendant any other name (particularly, that of the third defendant) other than the name of the plaintiff who secured the highest number of votes in the primary election of 17 February 2024 and was set to secure the highest number of votes had the rescheduled re-run for 22 February 2024 held and conducted in line with Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended, as well as the Constitution and Guidelines of the first defendant.

“A declaration that the submission of the name of the third defendant to the second defendant by the first defendant, to contest election on the platform of the first defendant as its flag bearer to the office of the Governor of Edo State at the off-cycle governorship election slated for 21 September 2024, is unconstitutional, illegal, ultra vires, oppressive, undemocratic, arbitrary, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.

“An order setting aside the nomination and/or submission of the name of the third defendant to the second defendant by the first defendant as its standard flag bearer for the office of the Governor of Edo State at the off-cycle gubernatorial election slated for 21 September 2024.”

In a notice sighted by our correspondent on Tuesday, the matter has been fixed for May 8, 2024, for hearing.

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