Law News
Court: APGA Chairman Can Submit Candidates’ List to INEC
 National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh

National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh

An Abuja High Court on Wednesday struck out its earlier order which had restrained the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Chief Victor Umeh from submitting the names of the party’s candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2015 general election.

Justice Valentine Ashi, in vacating the order, admitted that he was misled into granting it in the first place.

The judge said he had found out that his court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit as the plaintiff was neither an aspirant nor a person who participated in the party’s nomination process.

Justice Ashi, relying on several Supreme Court decisions, held that “until a person has participated in the primaries of a political party, he cannot approach the court for any purpose. Any such action remains a political question within the exclusive domain of political parties.”

According to him, the only recognised exception, where a person can approach the court is under Section 87(9) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, adding that the instant case did not fall within that exception.

The court accordingly declined jurisdiction to entertain the suit and subsequently struck it out.

The court had last Friday after listening to one Chief Martin Orji through his counsel, Orji Nwafor-Orizu, in an ex parte motion granted an interim order restraining Umeh from parading himself as the National Chairman of APGA and from setting up any committee/panel in respect of primary election in Anambra State for the 2015 general election, while contesting the same primaries as an aspirant for the Anambra Central senatorial zone, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

Justice Ashi had also restrained Umeh from submitting any list of the party’s purported candidates to INEC in the 2015 general election.

However, Umeh in a swift reaction through his counsel, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN) and Chinedu Ezeh, had filed a motion asking the court to vacate and discharge the said orders on the grounds that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit and that the plaintiff failed and omitted to disclose material facts in support of his ex parte application.

He also contended that the plaintiff had not acted bonafide in purporting to activate the jurisdiction of the court.

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