Anambra guber election: Court refuses to hear motion seeking to stop Nwoye
…Reps member urges court to dismiss suit for lacking in jurisdiction
Move to stop Tony Nwoye from participating in the primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the Anambra governorship election failed Wednesday as the sitting vacation judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Yusuf Halilu declined to hear a motion ex-parte filed to that effect.
The motion ex-parte filed by Okechukwu Ogbonnaya, contained seven prayers, particularly prayer 6, for an order of interim injunction restraining the APC from “from clearing the 1st defendant (Nwoye) to contest or stand for its primary elections for the purposes of selecting the party’s governorship candidate for the forthcoming Anambra State governorship election pending the determination of the motion on notice.
Although the case was listed in the court’s cause list for yesterday, the judge declined to hear the applicant’s lawyer, who had sought the hearing of the ex-parte motion on grounds of urgency. The judge said there was no urgency to warrant the hearing of the motion.
Ogbonnaya listed as defendants, in the suit, Nwoye, Chief Arthur Eze, Atlas Petroleum International ltd, Oranto Petroleum Ltd, Fidelity Bank Plc, APC and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He is challenging, among others, the propriety of the alleged donations by Eze and others, to Nwoye’s governorship ambition.
Nwoye has however challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit, arguing that the subject matter of the suit relates to Anambra governorship election, on which a court in Abuja cannot hear. He asked the court to strike out the case.
Alternatively, he asked the court to order the plaintiff to put the defendants “on notice of prayers 3, 4, 5, and 7 in the motion ex parte filed on 31st July, 2017 to enable the 1st defendant (Nwoye) to be heard on those prayers as those reliefs are targeted at stifling the exercise of the constitutional right of the 1st defendant to contest for the Anambra State governorship election.”
In a supporting affidavit, a lawyer in Nwoye’s team, Obinna Onya said the suit has a direct bearing on the Anambra State Governorship election, which has been scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission to hold on 18th November, 2017 and the primary election of the 6th Defendant which by the prescription of the electoral body must be held not later than August, 2017.
Onya stated that he was informed by the leader of the legal team, Tobechukwu Nweke that the plaintiff lacks the locus standi to institute the case and that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain adjudicate over a pre-primary issue before the conduct of a primary election
In further attacking the competence of the suit, Onya stated that “The originating summons and the affidavit in support (filed by the plaintiff) failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action
“This matter being one bordering on criminality was wrongly commenced by originating summons. This matter is a gross abuse of the process of this Court
“Being that this motion challenges the jurisdiction of this Court, it is just to set the issues of jurisdiction down for hearing and determination before any other step is taken in this matter.
“Being that prayers 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the motion ex parte filed on 31st July, 2017 are targeted at stifling the exercise of the constitutional right of the 1st defendant to contest for the Anambra State Governorship election, it is only just and proper that the Defendants be put on notice of those prayers to enable the 1st defendant to be heard on those prayers,” he said.
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