Court Case Seeking To Challenge Akwa Ibom State APC Governorship Primaries Suffers Setback
Embattled Senator, John James Udoedehe who was defeated at the Akwa Ibom State governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) met a brick wall at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday 13th January, 2016 as his case against the governorship candidate of the APC Obong Umana Okon Umana could not go on as planned.
His Counsel, Mahmud Mogaji, SAN had sought the leave of the Court to move the following applications:
a) The motion to relist the case. (The case was struck out on the 6th July, 2015 for want of diligent prosecution.)
b) The motion for leave to file and serve a further affidavit and a Written Address.
The Court, presided over by Hon. Justice E. S. Chukwu, rebuked Plaintiff’s Counsel, Mahmud, SAN for serving Defence Counsel with the documents in Court when he expected the applications to be heard on the same day.
Earlier, Counsel to Umana Okon Umana, Chief Victor Iyanam, a former Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State; leading Austin J Otah, Esq. and Ubong Offiong, Esq. had indicated his intention to oppose all the motions brought by the Plaintiff.
It would be recalled that soon after the APC primaries in 2014, Sen. John Udoedehe had proceeded to the Federal High Court, Abuja to challenge the emergence of Umana Okon Umana as the Governorship flag bearer of the APC. The case suffered a lull for a while owing to the declaration of Udom Emmanuel as Governor and the subsequent Election Petition Tribunal proceedings.
However, in what legal observers described as an afterthought, Udoedehe suddenly sought to revive the case which was earlier struke out when Umana started a streak of electoral victories, beginning from the Election Petitions Tribunal to the Court of Appeal.
Legal sources who are familiar with the matter stated that Udoedehe was merely pursuing a hopeless adventure as the Supreme Court has decided in several cases that selection and sponsorship of candidates is an internal affair of a political party for which the Courts do not interfere with.
It is widely believed in Akwa Ibom State that Senator Udoedehe is being sponsored by external forces, notably the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); in order to enhance the prospects of Udom Emmanuel as Governor of the State. Udoedehe has been accused by APC leaders in the State of working for the PDP and Mr Udom Emmanuel.
The case has been adjourned to the 18th January, 2016 for continuation.