Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s hope to become the next Deputy Senate President received a boost on Friday, as the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, affirmed his re-election in the last National Assembly election.
The affirmation came when it upturned the judgment of Asaba Federal High Court, which on March 18 this year, declared Cyril Ogodo-led faction of State Executives of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the elected executive for Delta State.
The court held that the Prophet Jones Erue-led State Working Committee is the legally elected for the state.
Omo-Agege, the Senator representing Delta Central senatorial district, had contested and won the election through the Erue faction.
The court in a unanimous judgment read by Justice Mohammed Shaibu, held that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit as it bordered on intra-party matter.
It also held that the non-compliance with section 97 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act by the respondents, was a fundamental breach of the law.
It added that statutory provision on service of writ of summons was not complied with, as the writ was not endorsed.
According to the court, failure of the respondents to file their suit within 14 days of the act complained of (pre-election) extinguished their rights and therefore lack locus standi to contest the primary they did not participate in.
“In the instant case, the respondents were neither aspirants nor contestants and therefore lack locus standi to challenge the action of the APC.
“The appeal is allowed. The judgment of the lower court is hereby struck out for lack of jurisdiction, the court held and awarded N100,000 costs against the respondents.
In another judgment on the same subject matter, the court held that election matters are time-bound and must be strictly adhered to, adding that the lower court was wrong to have assumed jurisdiction in the suit.
“The lower court was wrong, the judgment is a nullity and is hereby set aside,” the court held in the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice C.N. Uwa.
By the implication of the judgment, all actions taken by Prophet Erue Exco, including fielding candidates for elections, have been validated.