Court dismisses Herman Hembe’s suit against APC, INEC

Court dismisses Herman Hembe's suit against APC, INEC Court dismisses Herman Hembe's suit against APC, INEC

The federal High Court Makurdi Division has asked the Governorship Candidate of the Labour Party, Herman Iorwase Hembe to pay All Progressives Congress, APC, fifty thousand Naira within seven days from the day of judgement in the Suit he filed challenging APC for including of his name on the parties gubernatorial primaries election results.

Herman Hembe went to court seeking many reliefs among which are, a declarations that the votes allocated to the Applicant in the purported Gubernatorial primaries of the 1st Respondent held on 27-5-2022 and the purported rerun held on 8-6-2022 are null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

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In responding to the plaintiff’s suit 1st defendants through their learned counsel fidelis Mnyim filed notice of preliminary objections and an affidavits of 13 paragraphs depose to by Dan Ihomun, the publicity secretary of Benue state APC on the 28th of July 2022 and formulated alone issue whether the court has jurisdiction to hear and determine the originating summons.

Fidelis Mnyim arguments on this lone issue submitted further that, the suit filed by the plaintiff does not fall within the ambit of Pre-Election matter, because the suit does not complain of non compliance with provisions section 84/14 of the electoral act 2022 and the first defendant guideline. Also that it does not seek to challenge the nomination of first Defendant but only the interpretation of notice of withdrawal from the Gubernatorial primaries and letter of resignation from APC which is outside the jurisdiction of the court.

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Barrister Mnyim also contended that the plaintiff lack the locus standi to institute the Suit because he is not an aspirant on APC platform to file the Suit with section 84/15 of the electoral act 2022 among others and asked the court to strike out the suit for want of Jurisdiction.

In response the plaintiff filled affidavit seeking three issues for determination whether having regards to the letter of resignation dated 26th of May 2022 the party can still go ahead and allocate vote to the plaintiff from the Primaries and rerun elections. Whether by the notice of resignation and letter of withdrawal all dated 26th of May 2022 the plantiff is still a member of the first Defendant.

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Barrister Blaire argued further that the Suit is a Pre-Election matter because it is about the Guber primaries of the 1st defandant and again he said, “assuming without conceding that the suit is not a pre election matter, yet the court has jurisdiction over the Suit because of the presence of independent national electoral commission INEC.

In his ruling, Justice Abdul Dogo resolving the issue of whether the suit is a pre election matter cited section 285/14 of the constitution Defines pre election matter as any Suit file by an aspirant who contest that any of the provisions in the electoral act or any act of the national Assembly relating to the conduct of primaries of political party and the provisions of the guidelines of the political party in the conduct of primaries have not been comply with with by the political party in selecting or nomination of its candidate an Aspirants challenging the actions, Decision of the independent national electoral commission INEC in respect to it’s participation in an election or INEC fails to comply any act of the national Assembly.

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Justice Abdul Dogo said the above provisions is clearer and devoid of any ambiguity therefore the court is bound to give the true meaning of the above provisions. He Said “whether the plaintiff has situated himself with or his Suit with any of the provisions of subsection 14 A to Z of 285 recourse must to held to the originating summons and the affidavits in support of same.

Justice Abdul Dogo said he has read carefully the three issues in the Originating summons of the plaintiff and has seen that the only issue the plaintiff complains is the alleged treatment as one of his member in the Governorship primaries election conducted by APC for the election of it’s governorship candidate in Benue state.

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Justice Abdul Dogo was of the view that the plaintiff’s pleadings in the instance Case does not go along with provisions of section 285 of the constitution and as rightly submitted by learned counsel to the 1st Defendant, Fidelis Mnyim Esq ACArb that the plaintiff’s complains are never that the provisions of electoral act or the guidelines of the 1st Defendant was not complied with in the conduct of it’s primaries election, the judge held that the plaintiff’s suit is not a Pre-Election matter and issue of status Barred or filing outside time does not Arise.

Because if mere presence of agent of the federal government in the suit the federal High Court can assume jurisdiction here (INEC) was also answered in the negative because the plaintiff did not complain of any administrative failure of INEC in the Suit.

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The Court Dismiss the Suit and awarded fifty thousand Naira cost on Herman Hembe to be paid within Seven days to APC.

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