Over 100 Aggrieved Aspirants Sue Oshiomhole, APC, INEC Over Primaries in Ondo

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One hundred aspirants on Monday dragged Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to court over the party's recent primary elections in Ondo State.

Other defendants in the suit are the APC, its National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala; Ondo State APC Chairman, Ade Adetimehin, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The House of Representatives and House of Assembly aspirants led by former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Kenneth Olawale, said there were no primary elections in the state through which candidates of the party could have emerged for next year's general election.

Through their counsel, Wale Omotoso, they asked the court to declare that the ruling APC does not have candidates for the National and state Assembly elections in the state.

They said the APC violated the 2010 Electoral Act and the constitution of the country by presenting candidates for the forthcoming elections without the conduct of party primaries.

The aggrieved aspirants asked for a "declaration that the subversion of the electoral guidelines of the APC as stipulated in its constitution by the party machinery in Ondo State in respect of the House of Representatives and House of Assembly primaries purportedly conducted on the 5th of October, 2018 in their failure to give the claimants opportunity of being voted for by the members of the party as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended is illegal, invalid, unconstitutional, null and void."

They also want the following from the court: "A declaration that the hand picking of preferred candidates without conducting any primary election in any of the ward and constituency in Ondo State with non-presence of any officials of INEC and members of the National Electoral Committee of the party amounting to pre-arranged choice of candidates is illegal, contrary to the electoral guidelines of the APC and the express provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended in 2015.

"A declaration that the harassment, molestation, and intimidation of the claimants in their various wards leading to their being forcibly chased sway and embarrassed from all venues designed for the purpose of the primary elections with machetes and Dane guns by the hired thugs and hoodlums of the preferred candidates thereby ensuring that no primary election was held, amount to gross flagrant breach of electoral guideline of the APC and the express provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended in 2015."

Apart from saying that the attempt by the Electoral Committee to send names to INEC amounted to a breach of the constitution and the Electoral Act, the aspirants prayed for an order voiding the act of handpicking of preferred candidates without due process of the law.

The Presiding Judge, Justice F A Olubanjo, ordered that all the defendants must be served before the hearing could begin, adjourning the case to November 12.

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