Ekpere-Eta asks Court to declare her Cross River APC Central senatorial candidate

Ekpere-Eta asks Court to declare her Cross River APC Central senatorial candidate

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A former Director-General of the National Women Development Centre (NEDC)and an aspirant for the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Cross River Central Senatorial District, Barrister Mary Ekpere-Eta, has asked the Special Taskforce handling electoral cases to declare her as the candidate of the party for the 2023 Senatorial elections in the area.

She also sought the disqualification of Hon. Etteng Jonah Williams and Chief Akinwumi Anderson Rickets from participating in any re-run as may be ordered by the Court for the Cross Central Senatorial seat under APC, have not been qualified to run in the primaries ab-inittio.

Adopting her brief of arguments through her Counsel, Bankole Joel Akomolafe, the Plaintiff urged the Court presided over by Justice Fadimatu Aminu, to hold that the primary election of the Cross River Central Senatorial District of the APC conducted on the 28th May, 2023 to elect its candidate is null, void and invalid having not been conducted in accordance with the extant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the Constitution of the party.

On the preliminary objections raised by the Counsel to the 1st and 2nd defendants, Akomolafe asked the court to discountenance it as it amounts to no issue and has no substance.

Earlier, Counsel to the 1st and 2nd defendants urged the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the originating summons was signed but not sealed by the Registrar of the court which they claimed was a fundamental error.

After listening to the arguments from the counsels in the suit, Justice Aminu adjourned for judgment on a date to be communicated to the Counsels.

Specifically, Ekpere-Eta had through her Counsel, Akomolafe, gone to the Federal High Court to determine whether or not by virtue of Section 222(2) and Section 228(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended) the Electoral Act Act, 2022 and the Constitution of registered political parties, the 1st and 4th defendants were in breach of Sections 61(I)(f) & 65(2)(b) respectively of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999(as amended), as at the time of the said primary election in their activities and conducts respectively.

Whether or not by the combined reading of section 228(B) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as (amended), Sections 29, 84 & 85 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and Articles 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 12.13 & 20.4(ii) (c) of the Constitution of the APC, the Indirect Primary Election conducted on the May 28th, 2022 to nominate the candidate of the APC, for the Cross River State Central Senatorial District in respect of the 2023 General Election without the aspirants sighting any delegates list or register, and the venue of the election changed without notification to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cited as 3rd defendant in the suit and the plaintiff and without allowing delegates from the Local Government Area and Area Council Congress of Abi, Yakurr, Obubra, Ikom, Etung and Boki, which constitute the six Local Governments of the Central Senatorial District of Cross River to vote is valid and lawful.

Whether or not by the combined effect of Section 65(2b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 9.1 & 9.3 of the APC Constitution, the 1st and 2nd defendants (Etteng Jonah Williams and APC) are eligible and possess the right to vote or be voted for in the primary election of Cross River Central Senatorial District of the 2nd defendant which was conducted of the 28th May, 2022.

And whether or not pursuant to Section 61(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended), Sections 29(1-6) and 84(12),(13) & (14) of the Electoral Act 2022, the 1st and 4th defendants have been in infraction of the Constitutional requirements of eligibility to contest the primary election to warrant the plaintiff, who had the best highest vote after the said 1st and 4th defendants in the primary election of the APC for the Cross River Central Senatorial District in respect of the 2023 general elections, to be declared the winner of the election in the circumstances.

Ekpere-Eta prayed the Court for a declaration that the 1st and 4th defendants who came first and second in the primary election of the Cross River Central Senatorial District which was conducted on May 28th, 2022 to elect the candidate of the APC in respect of 2023 were in breach of Sections 61(If) and 65(2b) respectively of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999(as amended) at the time of the said primary election.

An order directing the 3rd defendant (INEC) to remove the name of the 1st defendant as the candidate of the APC in the general election from its record and replace and/or substitute same with the name of the plaintiff forthwith.

Or in the alternative to declaring that the primary election of the Cross River Central Senatorial District of the APC conducted on May 28th, 2022 is null, void and invalid having not been conducted with the extant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2033 and the Constitution of the Party.

An order disqualifying the 1st and 4th defendants from participating in the fresh election to be conducted by the APC for reasons of their infractions of Sections 61(1f), 65(2b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) respectively having been disqualified to contest ab initio.

She is also asking for N25 million against the 1st Defendant as the damages and cost of action.

Cited in the suit as the 1st to the 4th defendants are Hon. Etteng Jonah Williams, the APC, INEC and Chief Akimwumi Anderson Ricketts, respectively.

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