By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The suit challenging the victory of Chief Philip Agbese in the primary election of the All Progressive Congress, APC, for the Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency in the forthcoming 2023 general elections, by an aspirant of the party may have suffered a setback over the joining of a non-juristic party as a defendant in the suit.
In the suit, the defeated aspirant, Miss Ene Agada challenged the declaration of Chief Agbese as the APC candidate and prayed the court to upturn his emergence.
At the hearing yesterday, Counsel to the APC, Fidelis Mnyim drew the attention of the court to the joining of a non-juristic party, Benue APC, as the second defendant in the suit as listed on the originating summons.
He pointed out that on the originating summon filed before the court, the APC was listed as the first defendant, Benue APC was the second defendant, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was the third defendant, Chief Agbese was the fourth while Sunday Oche was listed as the fifth defendant.
Mnyim insisted that the “Benue APC which is listed as the second defendant is a non-juristic person, therefore cannot be a party to the suit.”
In an attempt to rescue the suit, Counsel to the plaintiff, Ejembi Ekoh filed an application to amend the originating summon but failed to serve the second defendant in the suit. He however asked the court for another date.
Mnyim did not oppose the application for adjournment, however, in his opposition to the application to amend the originating summons, he pointed out that the plaintiff did not follow the Court’s Practice Direction which required that anyone bringing a motion for amendment should first seek the leave of the court.
In his submission, Counsel to Chief Agbese and APC candidate, Adetunji Osho did not oppose the application for adjournment, but he prayed the court to hear the motion for amendment as well as the substantive suit on the next adjourned date.
On their part, Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and that of Sunday Oche also did not oppose the application for adjournment.
INEC in their opposition to the suit, submitted that they monitored the primary election in all the 35 Wards where Philip Agbese won.
In his ruling, the trial judge, Justice Abdul Dogo adjourned the matter to September 22, 2022, for further hearing.
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