Appeal Court okays APC’s direct primary in Edo, strikes out restraining order by High Court


The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin has authorized the All Progressives Congress to proceed with its primary election in Edo State using its preferred mode in a ruling delivered to today, Thursday June 18, by the lead Justice, Justice Morenike Ogunomijo.

Setting aside the previous ruling of the Federal High Court restraining the All Progressives Congress from conducting its primary election pending the determination of the suit filed by the allies of the embattled Governor Godwin Obaseki contesting the primaries of the party in the state, the Appeal Court upheld the power of political parties to set, hold, and determine its representatives for elections in manners deemed appropriate without interference from the court.

Justice Morenike Ogunomijo and Justice Sam Oseji who voted to overrule the ruling of the lower High Court frowned at the order it termed as ‘problematic’ before authorizing the APC to proceed with its primary election on the 22nd June.

The criticism of the previous High Court ruling by the Appeal Court Justices reechoes previous concerns by legal experts who deemed the dismissed restraining order as a perversion of justice and a stalling tactic deployed by Obaseki and his allies who are only interested in scuttling the primaries of the APC, not arguing out their case in court.

In reaction to the Appeal Court judgment, a SAN who reached out to said: “It is in the interest of justice and good precedence that the Appeal Court has now set the road straight by throwing the High Court ruling in the trash can where it belongs.”

“The old tactics of presenting baseless cases before the court and asking for the restraining of your opponent without the conduct of reasonable trials to see and examine evidence must be stopped.”

“To my understanding, those who filed the case against the APC were not interested in getting justice or even a court trial, they just wanted to prevent the party from holding its primary. This was obvious from how they kept on moving from one court to another, seeking secret, one-sided trials, and demanding that the court gives them a restraining order without providing a shred of evidence to back up their claims.”

“By granting the APC full authority to carry on with their primaries, the Appeal Court has course-correct and done the right thing. Moreover, matters of internal primary, screening of candidates, and the likes are not justiciable because a party reserves the right on who to present for election on its platform.”

The SAN was referencing the existing Supreme Court ruling that holds that the court will not dabble into how political parties clear and select candidates for election.

The case at the Federal High Court will continue tomorrow, Friday 19th, but as it stands, there are no legal barriers preventing the APC from holding its primaries on the 22nd of June.

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