The Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has issued a contempt notice on the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, over what it termed disobedience to court orders.
The court said Oshiomhole disobeyed its order not to submit the list of Delta APC candidates to INEC, while Yakubu disobeyed its order not to receive and publish such candidates’ names from Delta State for the 2019 general elections until the resolution of the case.
The court noted that despite its order dated October 17, 2018, Oshiomhole still went ahead to submit names of purported National Assembly candidates from Delta APC to INEC and that INEC also went ahead to receive and publish such names even when the order directed both parties in the case not to do so but to maintain “status quo.”
Recall that Chief Cyril Ogodo-led executive of the APC in Delta State, had dragged the APC, Oshiomhole, INEC and one other to court in a suit, with No: FA/ASB/CS/76/2018, over the issue of the authentic list of candidates that emerged from the parallel primaries conducted in the state through the two contending State Executives in the state.
The primary election conducted by Chief Cyril Ogodo-led Exco produced Prof. Pat Utomi and Olorogun O’tega Emerhor as governorship and senatorial candidates, respectively, while that of the Prophet Jones Erue-led Exco produced Chief Great Ogboru and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as governorship and senatorial candidates, respectively. The fourth defendant in the suit is Prophet Jones Erue and his parallel executives.
The court in its sitting yesterday, issued against Oshiomhole and INEC Chairman Form 48, notice of Consequence of Disobedience to court order, and warned that: “Take notice that unless you obey the direction contained in the order, you will be guilty of contempt and you will be liable to prison.”
Earlier at the court, the defendants failed to file their responses claiming they were not given the statutory time and that the Judge should first rule on their motion on notice challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
Maintaining her previous order on all parties to maintain the status quo, the judge affirmed she will not rule separately on jurisdiction but shall take all motions together with the main issues. She subsequently adjourned the matter to November 13 to give extended time to the defendants to file their responses.