Apprehension in Bayelsa as Court fixes Nov. 14th for judgement on Sen. Lokpobiri suit over APC governorship ticket
The Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital has fixed 14th of November, 2019 for judgement on the suit filed by the immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri against the APC flag bearer, Chief David Lyon and the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the disputed Governorship primaries in the state.
The decision of the Court presided over by Justice Jane Iyang to deliver final judgment on the suit filed by Senator Heineken Lokpobiri is, however, causing apprehension within the fold of the APC as the court adjourned case two days to the November 16th Governorship elections.
The immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, had in the suit numbered FHC\YNG\C\100\19 applied for an order of perpetual injunction restraining APC, its officers, and agents from presenting or holding out Lyon to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate for the election.
The plaintiff also sought an order of perpetual injunction stopping INEC, its officers, agents and privies from accepting or further accepting, publishing or further publishing David Lyon as the flag bearer and another order barring the electoral body from excluding him as the APC candidate.
Besides, the governorship aspirant sought another order to stop Lyon from parading or further parading, presenting or further presenting himself as APC candidate and a similar order against INEC to stop it from accepting, recognizing, or dealing with Lyon or putting his image on the ballot paper in the name of APC as the party’s governorship candidate.
Lokpobiri wants the court to compel INEC to treat him as the lawful candidate of APC and to accord him the rights, privileges and perquisites of a candidate of APC in the gubernatorial election.
In a 45 paragraph affidavit in support of the suit, the plaintiff averred that a governorship primary election committee was constituted by the National Secretariat of the APC under the chairmanship of Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni and that the committee in compliance with the directive of the party conducted the primary poll through direct primary procedures.
The plaintiff who personally deposed to the affidavit claimed that the primary election was conducted throughout the state with the involvement of local government and ward chairmen of the party with six governorship aspirants including himself participating.
At the end of the primary election Lokpobiri claimed that he won majority of lawful votes in five local governments comprising Ekeremor with 48,113, Sagbama with 24,890, Ogbia, 13,349, Yenagoa, 18,258 and Kolokuma/Opokuma where he scored 6,809, bringing his total score to 111,439 while David Lyon unlawfully declared as winner scored only 325 votes.
Speaking after a court session on Monday, Barr. Fitzgerald Olorogun, Esq, the Counsel to Senator Lokpobiri, told ND REPORTERS that he has presented his case and their arguments have been canvassed and that his client is hopeful to reclaim his stolen mandate,” We presented our cases, canvassed our arguments and we are hopeful that Heineken Lokpobiri will reclaim his stolen mandate. We have confidence in the court’s ability to do justice, and the facts are very clear, a lot of documents to show where the justice of the matter will take and my lord will respond. The parties involved have canvassed their cases and is now left for the court to give judgement on the 14th which it adjourned it to”.
In his submission, Barr. Sydney Ibanickuka, Esq, counsel to the APC, said” It should be recalled that at last sitting, the court adjourned till today for adoption. The suit commenced by the originating summons and plaintiffs seeking the court to interpret documents that are attached to their issue. We on our side, as respondents have filed several preliminary objections, challenging the competence of the suit and sundry other issues because of the nature of the suit itself the court has said in its usual procedure for the adoption of all filed processes, then the court will during judgement trash them one after the other.
“But we are persuaded and convinced that this is not a matter to be commenced by originating summons proceedings for the court to come and interpret documents because they have several conflicting and contradictory issues that require that witnesses should be called for the court to get to the justice of the matter. We will not preempt the decision of the court, we will wait for the court’s ruling whether or not to sustain the preliminary objections, but as far as the law is concerned, we have done what we ought to do.
“The court has been the last hope of the common man and has always been a tool of social engineering. It should be known that the entire judiciary is on trial here, let us wait and see. We brought in preliminary objections, some challenging that the suit was brought out of time, hence it is incompetence, among several other objections which any court should look into and grant them as prayed. Whatever comes, we will juxtapose it with the provision of the law, if in line, we applaud the court and if not, we know the next step to take”.