Justice A. R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja has adjourned the All Progressives Grand Alliance leadership suit to Monday 2nd September, 2013 for definite hearing.
Barr. Maxi Okwu’s leadership of the Party instituted the case against Chief Victor Umeh, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi and Independent National Electoral Commission praying the Court to direct the electoral umpire to monitor its primaries for the Anambra Governorship election slated for 16th November, 2013.
When the case came up today, Oba Maduabuchi, lawyer for Okwu and all national officers elected with him in the party’s national convention of 8th April, 2013 urged the Court to direct INEC to monitor the plaintiffs’ primaries as it monitored the defendants’ primaries (Umeh leadership) as irreparable damage would be done to the Okwu executive if INEC failed to monitor its primaries and it eventually won the case.
Counsel for Umeh and Shinkafi, C. I. Mbaeri told the Court that the Party’s primaries was conducted on 26th August 2013, and a candidate emerged, stressing that he has filed a memorandum of appearance and a preliminary objection to the suit this morning having been served the Court processes yesterday through substituted service.
Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN counsel for INEC told the Court that he received the Court processes this morning and still has time to respond going by the Court rule. He emphasized that it was not compulsory that INEC must monitor political parties’ primaries that parties were free to conduct their primaries and send results to INEC. He urged the Court not to set precedence by directing the Commission to monitor a party’s primaries as other political parties would demand same.
Mbaeri representing Umeh and Shinkafi averred that an order from the Court was not required for a party to hold its primaries stating that it was INEC’s statutory duty. He said he has filed an application challenging the competence of the suit before the Court which should be a priority.
Okwu’s lawyer, Maduabuchi urged the Court to look at what his application for an order directing INEC to monitor the primaries sought to prevent, an irreparable damage to the authentic leadership of the party failing to field candidate for the governorship election, emphasizing that the Court should not be slavish to adhering to the rule in a matter that time is of the essence.
Justice A. R. Mohammed said the defendants were still within the time allowed to reply as the Court did not abridge the time for their response. He adjourned the suit to Monday 2nd September, 2013 for definite hearing.
Senior Media Assistant to
Barr. Maxi Okwu, National Chairman