The 90 members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who are currently before the Federal High Court in Akure as plaintiffs in Suit No. FHC/AK/CS/58/2022, challenging the emergence of Gboyega Adefarati as the candidate of the APC for the House of Representative seat for Akoko South-East/South-West federal constituency, have written to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Chairman, Prof Yakubu Mahmood, on the need for the electoral umpire to first resolve their own pending case on which of the two different APC delegates’ lists for the Akoko South-East/South-West federal constituency, supposedly certified by the INEC is authentic, before conducting the fresh indirect primary election in the constituency.
The plaintiffs said this in a letter written on their behalf by their lawyer, Barr Femi Emmanuel Emodamori, dated 13th October, 2022 and addressed to the INE Chairman, insisting that the letter is necessary following the widely reported “consent judgment” of the Akure Judicial Division of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/AK/CS/62/2022, by which parties to the case, including the APC and the National Chairman of the party, agreed to conduct a fresh primary election for Akoko South-East/South-West federal constituency.
The full text of the letter, titled: ‘Need to Resolve Pending Court Case(s) Relating to Which of the Two Entirely Different INEC-Certified Delegates’ Lists for Akoko South-East/South-West Federal Constituency of Ondo State is Authentic Before Conducting. Fresh Primary,’ stated:
13th October, 2022
Our Ref: FEE/P/APC/27/I.022/
The National Chairman
All Progressives Congress (A.P.C)
No. 40, Blantyre Street, Wuse
THE NEED TO RESOLVE PENDING COURT CASE(S) RELATING TO WHICH OF THE TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT INEC-CERTIFIED DELEGATE LISTS FOR AKOKO SOUTH-EAST/SOUTH-WEST FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY IN ONDO STATE IS AUTHENTIC, BEFORE CONDUCTING A FRESH INDIRECT PRIMARY
Following the widely reported “consent judgment” of the Akure Judicial Division of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/AK/CS/62/2022, by which parties to the case, including the APC and the National Chairman of the party (sued as the 2nd and 3rd Defendants respectively), had agreed to conduct a fresh primary election for Akoko South-East/South-West federal constituency, the ninety (90) members of your party, who are currently before the same Court as Plaintiffs in another Suit No. FHC/AK/CS/58/2022 (our Clients), have instructed us to write your esteemed office on the need to first resolve their own pending case on which of the two different APC delegates’ lists for the same Akoko South-East/South-West federal constituency supposedly certified by the same Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is authentic, before conducting the fresh indirect primary election.
You would recall sir, that our clients, whose names are too numerous to be reproduced in this letter, had instituted the said Suit FHC/AK/CS/58/2022 against the party, Mr. Adegboyega Adefarati, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.
They are claiming declarations to the effect that they had emerged as the democratically elected delegates of the party from and for the Akoko South-East/South-West federal constituency, but were unlawfully excluded from the illegal nocturnal indirect primary election, which was earlier held in Akure on 27th May, 2022, in violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act, stipulating that primaries shall be conducted within and not outside the constituency, and that voting in indirect primaries shall be by democratically elected delegates.
You would also recall, sir, that to buttress their claim, our clients pleaded the list of APC delegates in Akoko South-East/South-West federal constituency, submitted to the INEC by your party and was duly certified on 27th May, 2022 by a Deputy Director at INEC National Headquarters, Abuja.
The said INEC-certified list is attached hereto as Annexure A. Our clients have the official receipt issued by the INEC for the statutory fees duly paid for certification of the list.
A strange complication has however been introduced to the case. An entirely different APC delegates’ list for the same constituency which was purportedly certified much later on 22nd June, 2022, by an officer at the Ondo State headquarters of INEC has been pleaded, and is now being relied upon by defendants in the case, apparently to defeat the case of our clients.
The irreconcilably different list is attached hereto as Annexure B.
As die-hard party loyalists, our clients believe that the exceptional understanding, demonstrated by your office and the other parties to the consent judgment in Suit No. FHC/AK/CS/62/2022 by realizing and accepting the need to jettison the earlier discredited primary, again confirms the capacity of their party, the APC to resolve her internal disputes.
However, leaving aside the prima facie complicity and/or duplicity of INEC in the whole delegates’ list brouhaha, you would agree with our clients that it would be unreasonable and potentially disastrous to proceed with the fresh indirect primary election, unless and until the issue of which of the two different delegates’ lists for the same constituency is resolved in the pending Suit No. FHC/AK/CS/58/2022.
It is on the premise of the above facts that our clients are respectfully calling on your esteemed office and the other stakeholders to suspend the fresh indirect primary for the Akoko South-East/South-West federal constituency, until the delegates’ list claim and ‘counterclaim’ is/are settled by the court.
Alternatively, to prevent the fresh primary election from culminating in another round of crises and lawsuits, relating to authenticity of delegates, our clients are suggesting that that party may simply adopt and conduct a fresh direct primary, where all the registered members of the party in Akoko South-East/South-West federal constituency would elect their candidate.
Please accept our highest regards.
Femi Emmanuel Emodamori.