Two members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have pleaded with the Abuja High Court to void the party’s governorship primary held on April 11.
Realwan Akpanachi and Yahaya Seidu-Nuhu sued six contestants in an originating summons filed by their counsel, Promise Ogbodu. The APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are the seventh and eighth defendants, respectively.
The plaintiffs alleged the violation of the Electoral Act 2022 and the Nigerian Constitution during the primary.
The six contestants were Abdulkareem Jamiu (chief of staff), Jibril Momoh (accountant-general), Yakubu Okala (auditor-general), Asiwaju Idris (finance commissioner), Salami Ozigi (commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs) and Ahmed Usman-Ododo (auditor-general for local government areas).
They prayed the court to disqualify the first to sixth defendants, claiming that the six defendants were political appointees or public servants when they contested the governorship primary election on April 11.
They asked the court to determine whether the first to sixth defendants, being political appointees or public officers currently in the service of the Kogi government, “can validly” participate in the convention or congress of the APC to vie for the nomination as the governorship candidate for the November 11 governorship election and whether having regard to section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act (2022) the seventh respondent (APC) “can validly nominate” any of the first to sixth respondents as a candidate for the Kogi governorship election “in the face of their failure as political appointees/public servants, to resign from service of the state government at the time of the primary election.”
The APC members also prayed the court to declare that “being political appointees/public officers currently in the service of the Kogi government, the first to sixth respondents cannot validly vie for the APC’s nomination as its governorship candidate” for the November 11 poll.
The plaintiffs further sought a declaration that the seventh respondent “cannot validly nominate any of the first to sixth respondents” as its candidate for the Kogi election “in the face of their failure as political appointees/public servants, to resign from service of the Kogi government at the time of the primary election,” and therefore requested “an order disqualifying any of the first to sixth respondents from seeking for the nomination of, and being nominated by the seventh respondent as its governorship candidate for the Kogi governorship election, scheduled for November 11.”
Meanwhile, the court, however, has reportedly directed that a notice of hearing be immediately served on all the respondents to appear before it on April 27 for the hearing of the plaintiffs’ originating summons.
Mr Usman-Ododo had emerged winner of the Kogi APC governorship primary after the other five respondents, including Deputy Governor Edward Onoja and one other, stepped down for him.
According to Patrick Obahiagha, the secretary of the Kogi APC primary seven-member committee, Mr Usman-Ododo scored 78,704 votes to beat six other contestants.
Mr Obahiagha, who announced the result of the primary on Saturday morning in Lokoja, said Mr Momodu got 1,506 votes, Mr Yahaya-Ashemogu, 1,159, and Mr Abubakar-Audu, 763 votes.
He added that Stephen Ocheni garnered 552 votes, Sanusi Ohiere 424 votes, and Smart Adeyemi 311 votes.