The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) Imo state chapter have been ordered by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja not to conduct any party congress in Imo State till the 21st of August. The national chairman of APC Adams Oshiomole was also joined in the suit.
Justice Babatunde Quadri, the vacation Judge who gave the order on Monday also ordered the plaintiffs, Senator Osita Izunaso, Senator Ben Uwajimogu, Mr. Mathew Omegara, Mr. Hilary Ekeh, and Mr. Patrick Uzoukwu, to maintain status quo until the same date.
The application was filed by counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Ahmed Raji who pleaded with the court to restrain all parties in the matter from conducting any primaries in the state, ward or local government, until the next adjourned date of the suit.
He argued that such an exercise if carried out by the defendants would become academic if the order was not issued by the court.
The counsel to the plaintiffs’ informed the court that the defendants had carried out a congress in Imo state despite being served with a court order to the contrary on the 20th of July.
The counsel further informed the court that it was this action by the defendants that informed the decisions of the plaintiffs to file an ex-parte motion on July 23, requesting that the congress be set aside by the court.
Mr. Raji also asked the court to restrain Adams Oshiomole from recognising and swearing in those purportedly elected at the congresses. The court did not grant this appeal but instead ordered that the parties be put on notice.
Reacting to the court order, Oladipo Okpeseyi the counsel to the defendants informed the court that he had just been briefed on the issue and therefore will only be able to file his appearance.
He also told the court that the APC officials have not been able to put forward their defense as a result of the recent happenings in the party, including the defection of some of their members.
Consequently, Okpeseyi requested the court to grant an adjournment to enable him to file the necessary processes.
This plea was however countered by the counsel to the plaintiffs who stated that the reasons put forward by the defense counsel were not permissible in law.
Asides from the order, the court also awarded a cost of N10,000 against the defendants for not filing their processes within the stipulated time and adjourned the matter to allow the defendants to regularise their processes.