The All Progressive Congress, APC, has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that it did not conduct the primary election that purportedly produced, a former Minister of Solid Mineral, Dr Uche Sampson Ogah as its governorship candidate in Abia State in the 2023 general elections.
On the contrary, the party claimed that its National Working Committee (NWC) conducted a primary election monitored by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which produced one High Chief Ikechi Emenike as its official governorship flag bearer.
The party through its lead counsel, Professor Sam Eruogo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria asked the Federal High Court to dismiss Ogah’s suit on two grounds.
The two grounds, according to the Professor of law, are that the former Minister of Solid Mineral, having not participated in the primary election conducted by the APC NWC, has no locus standi to challenge the legally conducted primary election.
Eruogo also said the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the issues of the nomination of candidates for elective office by the party.
While presenting the defence of APC in Ogha’s suit, Professor Eruogo informed the court that the primary election being claimed by the former Minister was unknown to the law in Nigeria because it was conducted by a faction of the Abia State chapter of the APC.
He cited several Supreme Court authorities to the effect that only the NWC of a political party has the power to conduct a primary election for the purpose of selecting candidates for elective office.
The APC further told the court that the claims of Ogah that he emerged from a direct primary election cannot hold because the Electoral Act makes it mandatory for a direct primary election to be conducted in 184 wards of the state as against that of Uche conducted in one place.
Professor Eruogo, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the former Minister’s suit.
Also in his argument, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, who stood for Ikechi Emenike, prayed the court to uphold the nomination of his client on the ground that he emerged from a primary election lawfully conducted by the APC NWC.
Fagbemi, SAN, faulted the purported nomination of the former Minister on the ground that no state chapter of any political party has the power to conduct a primary election for the selection of candidates.
The former Minister had sued Ikechi Emenike, APC, Abdulahi Adamu and INEC, praying the court to compel APC to submit his name to INEC as the lawful candidate.
The former Minister through his lawyer, Solomon Umoh SAN told the court that the direct primary election that produced him was monitored by officials of INEC and that a report to that effect was made available by the electoral body.
He urged the court to nullify the nomination of Ikechi Emenike and order INEC to publish his name as the lawful APC candidate.
After taking arguments from parties, Justice Binta Nyako fixed November 11, for Judgment in the suit.
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