George Kajo, Makurdi
A suit filed at Federal High Court Makurdi Division to remove Philip Agbese as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the 2023 Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency election in Benue State by an aspirant, Ene Agada has been jeopardized by a legal blunder.
When the case came up for hearing before Justice Abdul Dogo, Counsel to Agbese, Mr. Adetunji Osho while urging the court to dismiss the suit, pointed out that in paragraphs 21, 24, 26 and 27 of the supporting affidavit to the amended originating summons, the plaintiff deposed to the effect that it was one Sunday Oche who was the fourth defendant in the suit that won the APC primary election in the Federal Constituency.
Osho also pointed out that even in the fourth question for determination in the originating summons, the plaintiff alleged that the said Oche was the winner of the election but on the other hand she was seeking reliefs against Agbese who was the third defendant in the suit.
He also faulted the relief sought by the plaintiff for a declaration of the court that she should be declared the winner of the primary election when she had already claimed in her originating summons that no primary election was held in the Federal Constituency.
Osho also contended that the plaintiff failed to produce any document before the court to back up her allegations saying “it is a settled fact in law that a claimant who had based his or her case on a particular document must produce those documents in evidence.”
He urged the court to dismiss the suit as the plaintiff failed to tender any document to support her case.
Counsel to the APC, Fidelis Mnyim who adopted his processes also urged the court to dismiss the suit, while that of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Magdalene Iorfa said the commission carried out its statutory duty by monitoring the election that produced Agbese as winner of the primary election.
On his part, Counsel to Sunday Oche, Sunday Ako who held the brief for Mr. J Usman also adopted his processes in the matter.
Meanwhile Counsel to the plaintiff, Gabriel Ishom urged the court to set aside the primary election for non compliance with the extant laws guiding the conduct of primary elections.
After listening to the arguments of the counsels, the presiding Judge adjourned the matter for judgement on a date to be communicated to the parties.
Reacting to the legal tussles within the APC, the immediate past State Chairman of the party in Benue state, Comrade Abba Yaro advised the party to deploy its internal dispute resolution mechanism to resolve these issues rather than approaching the court.
He expressed sadness that members of the party were resolving their matters in court.