It appears the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta state is at risk of missing deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) for the submission of forms CF001 and CF002 for candidates vying for Senate and House of Representatives positions.
INEC form CF001 is affidavit in support of personal particulars of persons seeking election, and form CF002 is form for the submission of names of candidates by a political party.
INEC had fixed October 18, 2018, for the submission of forms CF001 and CF002 for Presidential and National Assembly and December 1, 2018, for Governorship and State House of Assembly.
A Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, chaired by Honourable Justice Toyin Adegoke, according to Fred Okpowhoro Olokor, Esq, the legal team lead of the Cyril Ogodo led executive, had given an order on October 17, 2018 barring either factions of the APC in the State from submitting names of candidates to the INEC.
This follows a suit by Cyril Ogodo and two others brought against National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole and others, that all parties maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
At the resumed hearing of the case, Counsel to the Plaintiffs (O. J. Oghenejakpor, Esq.) who had filed a Motion on Notice to restrain 1st and 2nd Defendants (i.e APC and Oshiomhole) from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State to INEC other than the list of candidates that emerged from the Cyril Ogodo led executive’s primaries, which was duly served on all the Defendants, urged the Court to hear the Motion on Notice.
But because the Defendants served counsel to the Plaintiffs their processes which included preliminary objections in court on the 17th of October, 2018 the motion was not moved.
In a bid to diligently prosecute the case, the plaintiffs’ counsel applied for a stand down for a few hours to respond to the preliminary objections filed by the Defendants and served in court. The stand down was granted.
And before the resumption of hearing after the stand down, the Plaintiffs’ counsel was able to file his response to the preliminary objections and was ready to argue the said preliminary objections and the substantive application.
However, the Defendants vehemently argued that they were not ready to respond on points of law orally. They insisted on filing a reply and applied for an adjournment of the case.
The Plaintiff Counsel thereafter called upon the court to preserve the res in the matter which is to restrain the APC from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State to INEC for the 2019 general elections except candidates that emerged from the Cyril Ogodo anchored primaries.
The court then inquired from the Counsel to the INEC if any list of candidates had been submitted to INEC as at 17th of October, 2018. The INEC counsel confirmed to court that no list of candidates for Delta State have been submitted yet.
At this point the Honourable Judge ordered that all parties should maintain status quo. The clear meaning and intent of the Status Quo, therefore, is to preserve the res by ensuring that no list of candidates is submitted to INEC until the determination of the substantive matter.
The judge then ordered for accelerated hearing and fixed November 1st and 2nd 2018 for the hearing and determination of the case.
Going by this, the Delta APC might miss deadline for the submission of candidates for Senate and House of Representatives in the 2019 elections. The party might also miss out in submitting candidates for Governorship and State House of Assembly if the case is not decided by November 2nd.
Reacting to the development, the legal team lead of the Cyril Ogodo-led faction, Fred Okpowhoro Olokor, has warned the Prophet Jones-led faction against contempt if they go ahead to flout the court order.
“It is pedestrian and mischievous for anyone to suggest or argue that the Federal High Court in Asaba did not restrain APC from submitting any list of candidates for Delta State to INEC.
“The counsel to the 1st and 2nd Defendants (APC and the APC National Chairman) was in court and clearly understood what the order meant.
“Counsel will thus be unduly exposing his clients to the risk of contempt proceedings if he allows them to be misled by the mischievous interpretation of the Prophet Jones factional Legal Adviser as is being circulated in the media.
“Let it be known that anyone who violates the clear orders made on the 17th of October, 2018 stands the risk of having contempt proceedings initiated against them,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Legal Adviser of the Prophet Jones Ode Erue led executive, E. V. Onojeghuo Esq has said the party is at liberty to carry out its constitutional duties.