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Appeal Court removes Niger Delta minister as APC guber candidate


Minister of Niger Delta of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani

The Court of Appeal in Calabar has removed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Uguru Usani, as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River .

Similarly, the Etim John-led state executive remains sacked as Senator John Owan-Enoh remain the governorship candidate, while Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba is the senatorial candidate of APC.

The John Ochalla-led executive and its candidates remain authentic.

Giving a lead judgement yesterday, which was concurred by two other judges, the presiding judge, Justice Mojeed Owoade, carefully considered the appeal brought by Owan-Enoh for stay of execution of the judgement of the Federal High Court that removed him as APC’s candidate.

The appellate court had, on February 20, ruled that both parties, Owan-Enoh and Usani, should maintain the subsisting judgement from an appellate court in Abuja.

But the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Frankland Briyai, on the eve of election, said APC had no candidate in the state for the February 23 elections.

Justice Owoade ruled yesterday: “I have carefully considered the appeal on stay of execution. I believe the stay of execution ought to be granted pending the determination of the main appeal.”

Ndoma-Egba said that the appeal court, by the judgement, has restated its earlier order for the party to maintain status quo, “meaning that Owan-Enoh and others remain candidates in the race and the action by INEC in respect of the Saturday election is a nullity.”

Counsel to the APC, Owan-Enoh and others, Awa Kalu (SAN) said “the import of the stay of the execution granted and reinforced simply reverses all that INEC might have done in error or compromise of any sort.”

According to him, by implication, Owan-Enoh, Ndoma-Egba and other candidates of APC whose names were published by INEC as submitted by the National Working Committee of the APC, remain.

The court has given the respondents’ counsel up to March 1, 2019 to file their brief on the substantive case.

The matter was adjourned till March 4, 2019 for hearing.

Counsel to the respondents, Ayei Okpa, said: “I am satisfied with the order of court because it is in the interest of justice, and all parties have agreed to expeditiously handle the matter and bring the substantive matter to an end.”

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