The Federal High Court sitting in Warri has upheld the candidacy of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and other All Progressives Congress candidates that emerged through the primaries supervised by the Independent National Electoral Commission in Delta State.
The presiding judge, Justice Emeka Ewite, in his judgement delivered on Tuesday, struck out the suit filed by the applicant, O’tega Emerhor, challenging the validity of the primary that produced Omo-Agege.
Ewite struck out the suit on the ground of incompetence and lacking in merit.
He noted that Omo-Agege and Rev. Francis Waive, the winner of the Ughelli/Udu Federal Constituency, were necessary parties that ought to have been joined in the suit.
The judge further observed that Emerhor failed to deny the counter-affidavit filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission that it did not monitor the primary from which he purportedly emerged.
He held: “Failure to deny the counter-affidavit is an admission which required no further proof that INEC only monitored the primaries in which Senator Omo-Agege emerged.
“INEC is to supervise or monitor primary elections and not to conduct.”
Addressing newsmen shortly after the judgement, counsel to the APC, Lucky Ajokperiniovo, described the court verdict as a landmark for the party and all the candidates that emerged legitimately through the primaries.
He said: “It is a landmark judgment; the court has again reaffirmed the position of the Supreme Court to say that persons who are not joined as parties to a suit are not bind by the judgement given by that court.
“The court struck out the suit filed by Emerhor for incompetence and lack of merit.
“The court said Omo-Agege’s primary elections remain the valid and legitimate primary election conducted by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC.
“The consent judgement is a judgement of court that is valid and binding on all persons until it is set aside.
“This judgement has given the party huge relief in determining who the senatorial candidate in the 2019 general election in Delta Central.”
Also, counsel representing INEC, Robert Emukpoeruo, said that the electoral umpire was neutral and impartial.
He said: “It is the statutory duty of INEC to monitor primary elections and report those who won and their scores.
“The report by INEC shows that Omo-Agege won the primaries conducted by the NWC.”
Counsel to Emerhor, G. C Igbokwe, in his remark said: “We are happy with the judgment.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Omo-Agege, who is the incumbent senator representing the Delta Central at the upper legislative chamber, was re-elected in the recent National Assembly election.