By Nathan Nwakamma
A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, on Thursday nullified the governorship primaries that produced Chief David Lyon as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for the Nov. 16 poll in the state.
Delivering judgment, Justice Jane Inyang, held that the primaries were conducted arbitrarily outside the rules of the party.
The suit filed by Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, challenged conduct of the governorship primaries of APC which held on Sept.4.
She held that since the process was conducted in violation of the party’s constitution and guidelines as clearly spelt out for the conduct of governorship primaries, none of the aspirants should be fielded as the party’s candidate.
She therefore restrained the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), from including Lyon as the APC candidate in the governorship election slated for Saturday.
Inyang noted that according to the APC guidelines for the conduct of the 2019 governorship primaries, the results were expected to be declared by the returning officer for the pre-election, Gov. Mai Kala Buni of Yobe and not Sen. Emmanuel Ochega, Secretary of the election Committee.
Inyang also held that the APC violated its own rules in the composition of the election panel when it constituted a one-member committee and not seven members as stipulated in the party rules.
“It has been established by judicial authorities and several judgments that political parties are bound by their own rules, the committee that conducted the primary threw caution to the winds and it is my ruling that the primaries stand nullified.
“The results announced by Sen Emmanuel Ochega is not valid as he is not the returning officer for the election. And I make an order restraining INEC from recognising any of the aspirants that participated in the said primaries”,Inyang said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lokpobiri had approached the court to challenge the emergence of Mr David Lyon as the APC governorship candidate in the state.
Listed as respondents in the case are the APC, Lyon and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Lokpobiri had claimed that he won the Sept. 4 governorship primaries conducted by the APC, using the direct primary mode.
NAN reports that the aspirants, who participated in the Sept. 4, APC governorship primaries in the state, included Lokpobiri, Aganaba Steven, Ebitimi Amgbare, Diseye Poweigha, David Lyon and Ongoebi Etebu.
NAN also reports that a former Cross River Resident Electoral Commissioner, Briyai Frankland, was disqualified.