Just few days to the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in the country, a High Court in Calabar on Tuesday insisted that the removal of the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidates for the election in Cross River is a settled matter.
The High Court presided over by Justice Eyo Ita in a suit brought before it by an aggrieved APC governorship aspirant, Mr. Ukpan Odey, said since the reliefs sought by the plaintiff were the same as that which a Federal High Court had already ruled on, it could not rule on them again.
The Federal High Court In Abuja had on February 11th, 2019, in suit FHC/CA/CS/73/2018 ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delist all the names of candidates of APC from the 2019 elections.
Affirming that the ruling stands, Justice Ita directed “that All Progressives Congress, APC, the 1st Respondent herein, is obliged to apply and obey its constitution and guideline and their prayer N0 2 was decided in suit FHC/CA/CS/73/2018 on 11/2/2019 and is res judicatory.
On plaintiff’s prayer No. 3, the court held that “Prayer N0.3 was decided in Suit N0: FHC/CA/CS/73/2018 and following that decision INEC, 2ND defendant herein, has removed the names of all candidates forwarded to INEC by APC as a product of the primaries from its ballot papers.
Prayers N0.4 &5, in this case, were granted in suit No: FHC/CA/CS/73/2018. INEC has removed those names from its ballot papers.
“The name of the 3rd defendant has already been voided and being one of those names sent to INEC by the first Defendant, APC, removed from INEC ballot papers for the Governorship Elections in Cross River state coming up on the 9/3/2109 in line with consequential order 5 in the Federal High court case.
“I am of the settled view that the main causes of action in claims 2-6 in this matter, which are the APC primary elections for her candidates in Cross River state, and the sending of names of APC candidates based thereon to INEC, were resolved by the Federal High Court in the case referred to above on the 11/2/2019.
“The cause of action in those claims are therefore res judicata. Claims 2-6 in this action are in consequence dismissed as there is nothing left to decide in them.”
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the judgment, A .U Bukar, Counsel to Claimant, John Ukpan Odey an aspirant under APC, said he was happy with the decision of the court following the fact that a Federal High sitting in Abuja had already given an order on the matter.
“What was displayed earlier by the APC was political rascality and we are happy that the High Court sitting in Cross River state where my client instituted the matter has affirmed the order of the Federal High Court of 11/2/2019 with Suit No FHC/CA/CS/73/2018 which has already been obeyed by INEC which on the 22nd of February delisted all candidates of APC including the governorship candidate, “he submitted.