Court rejects Apapa factional motion seeking to replace Imo LP candidate

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Abuja: A Federal High Court, Abuja, has declined to grant a motion ex-parte brought by Alhaji Lamidi Apapa-led faction of the Labour Party (LP) to stop Athan Achonu as governorship candidate of the Saturday’s election in Imo.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a short ruling, refused to grant the prayer of the plaintiffs for an order of interim injunction recognising their candidate, Chief Joseph Ukaegbu, as validly elected standard bearer of the party.

The development followed an ex-parte motion moved by counsel to the plaintiffs, Mohammed Mohammed, SAN, to the effect.

Rather, the judge directed Mohammed to put the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is the sole defendant, on notice.
“I am going to allow you to adopt it (the motion) but I will not grant it.

“I am not granting you the application today as you have to bring them to court.

“Let it be that they have been served and they are not in court,” the judge said.

According to Justice Ekwo, I have studied the prayers on the motion ex-parte and also studied the averments in support.

“I am of the opinion that I need to hear from the defendant (INEC) before making further Order on the motion,” he said, adjourning the matter until Friday for INEC to show cause.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the plaintiffs include LP; Alhaji Apapa (Acting National Chairman); Alhaji Lawal Saleh (Acting National Secretary) and Comrade Abayomi Arabambi (National Publicity Secretary).

Others are Comrade Anslem Eragbe (National Youth Leader); Barr. Akingbade Oyelekan (National Legal Adviser) and Chief Joseph Ikechukwu Ukaegbu (Gubernatorial candidate, Imo State) as 1st to 7th plaintiffs respectively.
The plaintiffs, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1357/2023, sued INEC as sole defendant.

They had sought an order of interim injunction restraining INEC from “recognising any other person or persons laying claim to the LP gubernatorial ticket in Imo governorship election slated for 11th November, 2023 other than the plaintiff (Ukaegbu) who emerged from the primary conducted by the Alhaji Lamidi Apapa-led National Working Committee (NWC) of LP on April 16.

They also sought an order of mandatory injunction directing or compelling INEC to recognise, upload and publish Ukaegbu’s name as LP governorship candidate in Imo, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed contemporaneously with this ex-parte application.

They equally sought an order of mandatory injunction directing INEC to upload Apapa and Saleh’s names as the acting national chairman and acting national secretary, including other Apapa-led NWC members, pending the pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed contemporaneously with this ex-parte application.(NAN)(

Biola Lawal

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