A Bayelsa State High Court has ordered the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to conduct the forthcoming governorship primary using the direct primary method.
The presiding judge, Justice Umukoro, ordered that the enrolled order of the court be served along with hearing notice to the respondents within 48 hours.
The aggrieved members, who dragged the party before Justice EG Umukoro, and obtained the interim order are Japan Christopher, Evinson Olotu, Oddu Oyimiebi and Obriki Isaiah, while the first respondents are APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole and other members of the NWC, while the second respondents are Hon. Jonathan Amos and members of the State Working Committee of the party.
The applicants prayed the court for an order “abridging the time for which the respondents may enter appearance and file their respective counter affidavits and written addresses to the originating summons within seven days given the time sensitive nature of the suit.
“An interim injunction restraining the first respondents from adopting the direct primaries procedure for the conduct of the party’s primary election for the 2019 Bayelsa State governorship election pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons”.
Meanwhile, the NWC of the APC has postponed Bayelsa governorship primary election to August 31.
The primary election was earlier scheduled to hold Thursday, August 29 before it was postponed by two days. APC National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja.
While the party adopted indirect as mode of primary for the Kogi gubernatorial primary, he said the ruling party has adopted the direct mode of primary in line with the written request of the Bayelsa State chapter and majority of the stakeholders.
Issa-Onilu said this was in compliance with the decision of the APC National Executive Committee (NEC), which grants state chapters and majority of party leaders in a state the right to decide on the mode of primary they wish to adopt. “NWC has shifted the date for the Bayelsa governorship primary from Thursday, August 29 to Saturday, August 31, 2019,” he added.
In another development, supporters of one of the leading Kogi State governorship aspirants, Babatunde Irukera, on Wednesday stormed the APC National Secretariat in Abuja to protest his disqualification ahead of Thursday’s primary. The Hope Uzodimma led committee had earlier disqualified Irukera, citing invalid declaration of age; spent less than one year in the party and without waiver; academic credentials and supporting documents not attached.
However, the appeal committee of the party in its own report overruled the committee, saying the committee cannot establish any evidence on all matters raised based on his oral and documentary presentations and subsequently cleared him. But he was subsequently disqualified by the party’s NWC.
Supporters of Irukera, under the umbrella of Kogi Mandate Group, led by its Spokesperson, Amos Alfa, while addressing journalists, wondered why he was disqualified by the NWC. The protesters were armed with placards with various inscriptions such as: “APC, learn from Zamfara” “Irukera is our choice” among others. Alfa queried why such thing happened to Irukera, adding that the governor, Yahaya Bello, was aware that the only person that could unseat him was Irukera, alleging that was why he did all he could do to ensure that Irukera did not feature in the primary.
“We have a copy of the results from the screening and it was written boldly that Babatunde was cleared. Why won’t he be a participant in the primary? That is why we are here. “Justice should be done and ensure that this party doesn’t lose Kogi State to a wrong hand. Babatunde is capable to handle Kogi State to the best Next level. Let APC body as a whole do justice to ensure that Babatunde is being featured in the primary.’
Alfa therefore appealed to the party to do justice and avert losing Kogi State to the “wrong hand”, warning that Irukera won’t hesitate to challenge the NWC’s decision through all legal means. Asked what their next line of action would be if their request was not granted by the NWC, Alfa noted that a decision would be made within the next six hours on next line of action.