Kogi Guber: Aggrieved Members Challenge Indirect Primaries in Court

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By Taiye Agbaje

Four delegates in the forthcoming All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election in Kogi, on Thursday, challenged the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to conduct an indirect election for the selection of its governorship candidate.

The applicants, in an exparte order with file number: CS/833/19 brought before the vacation judge of the Federal High Court Abuja, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, include Destiny Aromeh (1st plaintiff), Isa Abubakar, Noah Aku and Joy Onu.

The APC is the defendant in the case.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the primary poll is scheduled for Aug. 29, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fixed the governorship election to Nov. 16.

The APC had, through a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, adopted the indirect primary to pick its candidate for the election in Kogi.

The party, which said it took the decision at its NWC meeting held on July 5 at the National Secretariat of the party, explained that the approval was given after a meeting of the NWC where a formal request from the Kogi State executive and stakeholders in preference for the indirect primary was considered and deliberated on.

The indirect election involves a representative poll where delegates, usually party officials at state and local levels, as well as top political office holders, vote for their preferred candidates on behalf of other party members.

Counsel to the applicants, Oluwole Aladedoye, told Justice Taiwo that the planned indirect election was a move to shut out his clients from participating in the poll.

Aladedoye said that the plaintiffs were members of the State Executive Committee for the poll, which is scheduled to take place on Aug. 29.

”They are elected state executive members of the defendant (APC) in 2018. They emerged as elected.

”After the election, the governor set up a parallel EXCO, excluding the plaintiffs from participating in the nomination and the matter is still pending before Justice Okon Abang of this same court,” he said.

According to him, we have two applications we crave your indulgence to attend to.

”One was filed on Aug. 8 as it is predicated on Order 46, Rule 5 which enjoins your Lordship to take the matter during vacation.

”The application is dated Aug. 7 but filed on Aug. 8. We pray your Lordship to hear this matter as a vacation matter before this court.

”In support of the application is an affidavit of nine paragraphs, urging your Lordship to grant our prayers,” he said.

Aladedoye further said that the second application was a motion exparte dated Aug. 7 and filed the same day.

”The motion exparte is brought under Order 26, Rule 6, 7 and 8 of the rules of this court and the inherent jurisdiction of your Lordship,” he said.

The counsel told the court that the exparte application sought for an order to restrain the APC from adopting indirect primaries in the forthcoming election.

”The motion prays for an order of interim injunction, restraining the defendant by itself, its organs, agents or any person as so ever described from adopting the indirect mode of primaries for the nomination of the governorship candidate in the forthcoming governorship primaries of 2019 in Kogi, pending the determination of the motion on notice.

Aladedoye, who said that the grounds for the application are nine, added that in support of the application was an affidavit of 31 paragraphs.

”Attached to the affidavit in support is exhibits A to F,” he said.

He said the indirect election is only a mode that allows only the delegates to participate in the poll.

”We cannot allow the defendant to shut us out of the election,” he said.

He reminded the judge that the party, which decided to adopt indirect poll for the state’s primaries, had adopted a direct election in the state to pick President Muhammdu Buhari as APC candidate for the 2019 Presidential Election.

Justice Taiwo, after listening to the counsel, asked him to appear on Aug. 9 to enable him study the application.

He, therefore, adjourned the case until  Aug. 9 for hearing.


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