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The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, on Friday, confirmed the re-election of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central Senatorial District on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
The court gave the confirmation as it upturned the judgment of the Asaba Federal High Court, which on March 18, declared the Cyril Ogodo-led faction of state executives of the All Progressives Congress as the elected executives for Delta State.
The court held that the Prophet Jones Erue-led state working committee was the legally elected body for the state.
Omo-Agege had contested and won re-election through the Erie faction.
The court in a unanimous judgment read by Justice Mohammed Shaibu held that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit as it bordered on intra-party matter.
It also held that the non-compliance with Section 97 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act by the respondents was a fundamental breach of the law.
It added that statutory provision on service of writ of summons was not complied with, as the writ was not endorsed.
According to the court, failure of the respondents to file their suit within 14 days of the act complained of nullified their rights and therefore lacked locus stand to contest the primary they did not participate in.
“In the instant case, the respondents were neither aspirants nor contestants and therefore lack locus stand to challenge the action of the APC.
“The appeal is allowed. The judgment of the lower court is hereby struck out for the lack of jurisdiction, the court held and awarded N100,000 costs against the respondents.”
In another judgment on the same subject-matter, the court held that election matters were time-bound and must be strictly adhered to, adding that the lower court was wrong to have assumed jurisdiction in the suit.
“The lower court was wrong, the judgment is a nullity and is hereby set aside,” the court held in the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice C.N Uwa.
By the implication of the judgment, all actions taken by Prophet Erue executive, including fielding candidates for elections, have been validated.