Court asked to set aside nomination of Soludo as Anambra APGA candidate

Posted by News Express | 7 July 2021 | 509 times

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•Forner CBN governor, Charles Soludo
 
 
By GODWIN TSA, Abuja
 
The controversy trailing the nomination of a former governor of the Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Charles Soludo, as the flag bearer of the All
Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), for the November 6 governorship election
in Anambra State, has resulted into a lawsuit filed before the Abuja
division of the Federal High Court.
 
In the originating summons, a chieftain of the party, Okoye Nwabuogo, is
seeking an order of court setting aside the election and nomination of
Soludo as the party’s candidate for the November election.
 
The suit dated July 6, 2021, and filed the same day by counsel to the
plaintiff, Okoro Nkemakolam, is further seeking an order restraining Soludu
from parading himself as the validly or duly elected candidate of the party
for the said election.
 
It is the case of the plaintiff, who is a card-carrying member of the party
and a registered voter, that the statutory 21 days notice was not given to
INEC by the party, prior to the holding of the special ward congress, held
on June 15, 2021, for the election of ad hoc delegates for the nomination
of the party’s governorship candidate for the Anambra State gubernatorial
election scheduled to hold on November 6. 2021.
 
Listed as defendants in the pre-election suit are All Progressive Grand
Alliance, Prof Charles Soludo and the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC).
 
While urging the court to invalidate and set aside the entire primary
election of the party held on June 23, the plaintiff is equally seeking an
order of injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC, listed as 3rd defendant), from accepting the name of or
recognising Prof Soludo (the 2nd Defendant), as the candidate of APGA (the
1st defendant), for the Anambra State gubernatorial general election
scheduled to hold on November 6, 2021.
 
She is also seeking an order of the court restraining the party from
holding out or in any manner howsoever and/or according to Soludo the
rights or privileges as its validly or duly elected candidate for the
November 6, 2021 governorship election in the state.
 
In addition, she is further seeking a declaration that the party, is
mandatorily required, given the provision of Section 85(1) of the Electoral
Act, 2010 (as amended) to give to the 3rd defendant (INEC), the compulsory
21days statutory notice prior to the holding of the special ward congress,
held on June 15, 2021, for the election of ad hoc delegates for the
nomination of its governorship candidate for the Anambra State
gubernatorial election scheduled to hold on November 6.
 
A declaration that the election of 812 delegates as against the 978
delegates, as provided for in Article 11(5)(vii) of the APGA Constitution
2019, to be ad hoc delegates, to elect the governorship candidate of the
party, is illegal, unlawful, invalid, null and void.
 
She formulated the following questions for determination by the court:
 
‘Whether given the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 85(1) of the
Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), the 3rd Defendant can, in the light of
its two separate letters dated 18th June 2021 with REF:
INEC/DEPM/UPMM/1/145 and REF: INEC/DEPM/CWO/040/11/304 which disclosed that
APGA (1st Defendant), failed to give it, the mandatory 21days statutory
notice, prior to the holding of the special ward congress, on 15th day of
June 2021, for the election of ad hoc delegates for the nomination of the
1st Defendant’s governorship candidate for the Anambra State gubernatorial
election scheduled to hold on November 6. 2021, lawfully recognise, deal
with and give effect to the nomination of the 2nd Defendant through the
primary election of the 1st defendant held on 23rd June 2021 as the 1st
Defendant’s candidate for the said governorship election.
 
Whether given the clear provisions of Article 11(5)(vii) of the APGA
Constitution 2019, which provides for the election of three delegates per
ward, to be ad hoc delegates, to elect the governorship candidate of the
party, the party can lawfully proceed to elect only two delegates in
violation of it constitution.
 
Whether the primary election of the 1st Defendant held on 23rd June 2021
for the purpose of electing the 1st Defendant’s candidate for Anambra State
gubernatorial general election scheduled to hold on November 6. 2021 is not
invalidated by reason of the 1st Defendant’s non-compliance with the
mandatory provision of Section 85(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as
amended), and Article (5)(vii) of the APGA Constitution, 2019.’
 
In a 31-paragraphs affidavit in support of the originating summons, the
plaintiff averred:
 
‘That in the said letters the 3rd Defendant expressly stated that the 1st
defendant failed to give the mandatory/compulsory 21days statutory notice
prior to the holding of the special ward congress held on 15th day of June
2021, for the election of ad hoc delegates for the nomination of the 1st
Defendant’s governorship candidate for the Anambra State gubernatorial
election scheduled to hold on November 6. 2021 and as such the 3rd
Defendant did not monitor the said ward congresses and cannot attest if the
purported ad hoc Delegates are products of a democratic process.
 
‘That she knows as a matter of fact that notwithstanding the failure to
communicate to the 3rd Defendant within the mandatory 21 days, the date for
the conduct of the special ward congress, the 1st Defendant held its
primary election on 23rd June 2021 utilising an ad hoc Delegate list of the
purported special Ward Congress wherein the 2nd Defendant purportedly
emerged as the flagbearer and forwarded the name of the 2nd Defendant who
was enthroned in the said congresses to the 3rd Defendant.
 
‘That the 3rd Defendant as an umpire rather than intervene to stop the 1st
Defendant from further perpetuating illegality in the light of the two
separate letters dated 18th June 2021 with REF: INEC/DEPM/UPMM/1/145 and
REF: INEC/DEPM/CWO/040/11/304, proceeded to issue a certificate of return
to the 2nd Defendant, thereby lawfully accepting, dealing with and
recognising the 2nd defendant as the validly nominated candidate of the 1st
defendant for the Anambra State gubernatorial general election scheduled to
hold on November 6. 2021.
 
‘That she knows as a matter of fact that the primary election of the 1st
Defendant, was not conducted in accordance with the law, and will likely
prejudice the chances of her party winning the gubernatorial election,
except this Honourable Court intervenes as a matter of urgency.
 
‘The plaintiff stated that the 1st Defendant failed to comply with the
provisions of its constitution in the conduct of the special congress held
on the 15th day of June 2021 to elect ad hoc delegates for the purposes of
electing the candidate/flagbearer of the 1st defendant in the Anambra State
gubernatorial general election scheduled to hold on November 6, 2021.
 
‘That there are 326 wards in Anambra State and that as a matter of fact,
there ought to be three delegates from each ward, bringing the total number
of delegates 978, which is not inclusive of statutory delegates.
 
‘That she knows as a matter of fact that the list submitted by the 1st
Defendant to the 3rd Defendant has only 812 names as against the 978
delegates.
 
‘That she knows as a matter of fact, that by the constitution of the APGA,
three persons were to be elected in the said special congress and not two
persons as was done by the 1st Defendant in the said special congress, held
on the 15th day of June 2021.
 
‘That the 3rd Defendant will continue to recognise, deal with and give
effect to the nomination of the 2nd Defendant through the primary election
of the 1st defendant held on 23rd June 2021 as the 1st Defendant’s
candidate for the said governorship election unless restrained by the Court.
 
‘That the 2nd Defendant will continue to hold himself with rights or
privileges as the validly or duly elected candidate of the 1st defendant
for the Anambra State gubernatorial general election scheduled to hold on
November 6, 2021, having been recognised by the 3rd Defendant unless
restrained by the court.
 
‘That her interest as a member of the 1st Defendant will be highly
prejudiced except by the urgent intervention of this Honourable Court.
 
‘That she had invested her resources and goodwill in the 1st Defendant, and
knows as a matter of fact, that except by the urgent intervention of this
Honourable Court, the goodwill of the party will be totally destroyed and
her goodwill and resources lost.’
 
Meanwhile, the suit is yet to be assigned to a judge for adjudication.
(Daily Sun)
 


Source: News Express

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