By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
The bid by the Lamidi Apapa’s faction to stop the candidate of Labour Party, Chief Athan Achonu from participating in Saturday’s Governorship election in Imo State has suffered a major setback at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The Court turned down the request of the controversial faction of the LP to kick out the candidate from the gubernatorial poll.
Ruling in an ex-parte application argued by counsel to the faction, Mohammed Ndarani Mohammed, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Justice Inyang Ekwo disagreed with the move to shovel out Achonu from contesting the poll through ex-parte means.
Rather than granting the request, Justice Ekwo ordered Apapa and his group members to put the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC on notice on the existence of the suit to enable it put up its defense.
The faction had in the ex-parte application marked FCH/ABJ/CS/1357/2023 applied for an order of interim injunction restraining INEC from recognizing or according recognition to any other person laying claim to the gubernatorial ticket of the party in Imo State slated for November 11 other than Chief Ukaegbu Ikechukwu Joseph who emerged from Apapa led.primary election of April 16, 2023.
The group also sought for order of mandatory injuction compelling INEC to recognize and upload the name of Ukaegbu Joseph as the authentic gubernatorial and flagbearer of the party in Imo State.
The faction further demanded for a mandatory order against INEC that the name of Lamidi Apapa be uploaded as the national chairman of the party as well as Alhaji Lawal Saleh as national secretary.
However, Justice Ekwo after listening attentively to the motion as argued by the lawyer said he would not grant such request and ordered the faction to turn the ex-parte motion to motion on notice and serve same on INEC being the sole defendant in the suit.
“Iam not granting you this application today and you have to bring INEC to Court to come and explain its own side in this matter”, the Judge said.
Meanwhile, the Judge has fixed further mention in the matter till November 10 to enable Apapa’s faction present its grievances and INEC to respond with its defense.