An Abuja High Court has given an injunction restraining the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Cross River State from conducting fresh primaries.Justice O.A Musa also restrained the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party from doing so, pending the determination of the applicable suit.
He gave the injunction in a suit between APC chieftain, Sylvester Okpo from Cross River South Senatorial district, vice chairman, Regina Takon, ex-officio ember and youths leader, Charles Asim, who are plaintiffs in the matter, and APC Nigeria as defendant.
The ruling stated: “An order is hereby made restraining the defendant either by itself, any committee, privies by whatever name called, or any organ of the party except national convention, from purporting to nullify the congress of the Cross River State, of the defendant.”He urged the APC not to, in any manner interfere, suspend or breach the rights and privileges of the claimants as the state executive officers.
The judge extended the order to other local government and ward officers of the party in the state, pending the determination of the substantive case in the originating summons.He said: “It is hereby ordered that the time with which the defendant may enter appearances and file defence is abridged to 14 days from service of the originating process.
“That an order for accelerated hearing is hereby granted, and case adjourned till October 25, 2018 for definite hearing The APC State Secretary, Francis Ekpeyong, confirmed the injunction to newsmen yesterday in Calabar. He hailed the ruling and threatened that law enforcement agents would arrest any party member, or executive who attempts to conduct any congress, in violation of the court order, especially with less than 15 days to party congress.
He appealed to those concerned to avoid bloodbath and loss of property in the state, stating that security agents, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been notified about the court ruling.
However, the Mathew Achibe-led faction of the party claimed that the planned congress would go ahead, because they have not received any restraining court order.Also, the factional state Publicity Secretary, Bassey Ita, told The Guardian in a telephone interview: “I am not aware of the order, the national headquarters had asked us to go ahead with the congress. The committees of the national secretariat are already here in town.
“The congress scheduled to hold on tomorrow would still hold. As far as we are concerned, illegalities don’t count.”Ita said they have heard about threats to their lives, adding: “We are waiting for them to go ahead with all their plans.”