The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, on Friday, affirmed Jones Erue-led faction as the legally elected executive of the All Progressives Congress in Delta.
The affirmation followed an appeal filed by the Erue-led executive against the March 8 judgment of an Asaba Federal High Court, which declared the Cyril Ogodo-led faction as the elected executive of the party.
The panel of three judges, in a unanimous judgment read by Justice Mohammed Shaibu, held that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit as it bordered on an intra-party matter.
Other members of the panel are Justice C.N. Uwa and Justices J.O. Bada.
The appellate court also held that the respondents’ non-compliance with Section 97 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act was a fundamental breach of the law.
It added that statutory provision of service writ of summons was not complied with, as the writ was not endorsed.
It further held that failure of the respondents to file their suit within 14 days of the pre-election act complained of, extinguished their rights to contest the primary they did not participate in.
Shaibu said: “In the instant case, the respondents were neither aspirants nor contestants and therefore lacked locus standi to challenge the action of the APC.
“The appeal is allowed. The judgment of the lower court is hereby struck out for lack of jurisdiction.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the appeal court awarded N100,000 costs against the respondents.
In another related judgment, the court held that election matters were time-bound and must be strictly adhered to, adding that the lower court was wrong to have assumed jurisdiction in the suit.
“The lower court was wrong; the judgment is a nullity and is hereby set aside,”, the court held in the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice C.N Uwa.
NAN reports that with the victory of the Erue-led faction, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s candidacy at the 2019 Delta Central senatorial election has been affirmed.
Soon after the judgment, jubilant supporters of the victorious faction burst into celebration at the court premises.