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Ortom, PDP Seek Disqualification Of APC’s Governorship, Senatorial Candidates In Benue

Governor Samuel Ortom and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State have prayed the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) from accepting and publishing the names of the governorship and senatorial candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as persons sponsored by the party for the 2023 general election in the state.

In multiple suits filed before the court, Ortom, the PDP and its governorship and senatorial candidates are challenging the credibility of the APC’s direct primary that produced candidates for the 2023 polls.

In suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/826/2022, PDP and its governorship candidate, Titus Uba are challenging the APC primary that produced Rev. Fr. Hycent Alia as its governorship candidate, while Ortom, Senators Gabriel Suswam and Abba Moro are in a separate suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 889/2022, contesting the direct primary of the APC that produced candidates for the three senatorial districts of the state. Listed as defendants in the suits are the INEC, Rev. Fr. Hycent Alia, Dr. Terlumun Ikya, Benard Yisa, Dr. Mathias Byuan, Godwin Tyoachimin, Chief Michael Aondokaa (SAN), Senator Barnabas Gemade, Herman Hembe, Anyom Mlanga, Terwase Orbunde, Chief Stephen Lawani, Dr. Sam Ode and Prof. Terhemba Shija.

Others rest are Emmanuel Udende, Titus Zam, Daniel Onjeh, Samuel Zuga, Dr. Torngee Malu, David Awunah, Nelson Alapa, Jacob Ajene, Austin Oleho and Maj. Gen. Joseph Eje (retd).

In the originating summons dated June 8, 2022 and filed by a consortium of senior lawyers led by Chief Sabastine Hon, with Haris Ogbole and Douglas Pepe the plaintiffs are urging the court to compel the electoral body from accepting, recognisng and publishing the names of the APC candidates for the various political positions in the state.

They premised their grounds on the fact that the primary that produced them as candidates of the APC was conducted in breach of the relevant electoral laws and constitutional provisions for the conduct of party primaries.

The plaintiffs specifically referred the court to the combined provisions of sections 77(2) and(3), 82(1), (2) and (5); 84(1), 4(a)-(c) and (13) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and sections 177(c) and 285(14) of the 1999 Constitution.

It is the contention of the plaintiffs that INEC connived with the defendants or willingly breached its statutory duties, by permitting the defendants to flout the mandatory provisions of its Constitution and other relevant provisions put in place for the conduct of party primary for the aforementioned political offices. The plaintiffs are equally pressing the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC from acting on the list of candidates sent to it by the APC for the 2023 polls.

Justice Emeka Nwite ordered substituted service of the court processes on the defendants after granting the application moved by plaintiffs counsel, Chief Sabastine and fixed August 1, 2022 for hearing of the suit.

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