One hundred House of Representatives and House of Assembly aspirants under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, dragged the party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court, over the outcome of the primaries in Ondo State.
The grouse of the aspirants, led by former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Kenneth Olawale, was that there was no primary election in the state through which the candidates of the party could have emerged for the next year’s general elections.
Through the counsel, Mr. Wale Omotoso, other aspirants, including Eni Omosule, Mukaila Ayorinde Ajakaye, Coker Malachi, Ayodeji Arowele, Dele Ologun, Olaposi Joe Babatunde and Agunloye Taiwo, among others, asked the court to declare that the ruling APC did not have candidates for the National and State Assembly elections in the state.
Pointedly, the aspirants said the ruling party violated the 2010 Electoral Act and the constitution of the country by presenting candidates for the forthcoming election without the conduct of party primaries which is one of the prerequisites for the emergence of candidates.
Aside Oshiomole, the suit has as defendants the APC, the National Legal Adviser, Mr. Babatunde Ogala, the state chairman of the party in Ondo State, Mr. Ade Adetimehin and INEC.
The aggrieved aspirants asked for: “A declaration that the subversion of the Electoral Guidelines of the APC as stipulated in its constitution by the party machinery in Ondo State in respect of the House of Representatives and House of Representatives primaries purportedly conducted on the 5th of October, 2018 in their failure to give the claimants opportunity of being voted for by the members of the party as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, is illegal, invalid, unconstitutional, null and void.
“A declaration that the hand picking of preferred candidates without conducting any primary election in any of the ward and constituency in Ondo State with non-presence of any officials of INEC and members of the National Electoral Committee of the party amounting to pre-arranged choice of candidates is illegal, contrary to the Electoral Guideline of the APC and the express provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended in 2015.
“A declaration that the harassment, molestation and intimidation of the claimants in their various units leading to their being forcibly chased away and embarrassed from all venues designed for the purpose of the primary elections with machetes and Dane guns by hired thugs and hoodlums of the preferred candidates, thereby ensuring that no primary election was held, amount to gross flagrant breach of Electoral Guideline of the party and the express provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended in 2015.”
Apart from saying that the attempt by the Electoral Committee to send names to INEC amount to breach of the constitution and the Electoral Act, the aspirants prayed for an order voiding the act of hand picking of preferred candidates without due process of the law. When the case came up for hearing yesterday, the Presiding Judge, Justice F. A. Olubanjo ordered that all the defendants must be served and fixed the hearing of the case for November 12.