Hearing on the suit that seeks to disqualify the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-iyamu, from the September 19 governorship election in Edo State has witnessed further delayed at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was slated for hearing on September 8, 2020, but when the case was called, counsel to the PDP, Mr Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) informed the court that the APC has just served them the motion of preliminary objection and therefore required time to prepare the response.
“The matter was fixed for hearing today, but i was served in court this morning with the Notice of Preliminary Objection by the second defendant, (APC) and I will want to react to it,” Orbih said
Similarly, Counsel to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Alhassan Umar, (SAN) as well as Wole Olanipekun (SAN) representing Pastor Ize-Iyamu, both acknowledged receiving the motion and therefore requested that they be given time to file their responses.
The APC, in its application, is praying the court to dismiss the suit for being incompetent. Among the grounds that APC is predicating its application upon are: that the suit cannot be heard during the court’s vacation period.
The Party is also maintaining that the suit did not meet the conditions precedent laid down in Order 46 Rule 5 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019 and that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
Accordingly, it urged the court for a declaration that the suit was incompetent having failed to comply with conditions precedent laid down in Order 46 Rule 5.
“An order setting aside all the proceedings in the suit which occurred during the court’s annual vacation period in particular, all the proceedings of this court sitting in the Benin Judicial Division for being incompetent and a nullity”, the APC’s application said
In its suit, the PDP had prayed the court for an order disqualifying Pastor Ize-Iyamu from contesting in the September 19 gubernatorial election on account that he was not being validly nominated by the opposition APC in Edo State.
Consequently, the PDP claimed Pastor Ize-Iyamu was not a product of a valid primary election, hence, should not be allowed to participate in the forthcoming election.
Initially instituted in the Federal High Court, Benin Division, the case was transferred to the Abuja Division due to current annual vacation of the Courts. – Agency reports