There was confusion in Calabar on Monday following a Federal High Court judgment that sacked the Cross River State candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator John Owan-Enoh and ordered recognition of Niger Delta Affairs, Minister Pastor Usani Usani as the candidate of the party.
Usani and Owan-Enoh have been in a protracted battle over the governorship candidate ticket of the party.
Reports of the judgment were circulated on social media by appointees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led state government on Monday evening.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that in a two-hour judgment delivered by Hon Justice Simon A Amobeda earlier, the court ordered that INEC should only receive and accept the names and candidates for the 2019 elections that emerged from the executive led by Godwin Etim John.
It also ordered that persons parading themselves as the executive members of the APC in Cross River State should forthwith cease, declaring the Godwin Etim John-led executive as the authentic.
The court also sacked the leadership of the party led by Mr John Ochalla, which is loyal to Owan-Enoh, it was gathered.
Reacting to the judgement, the Director General of Usani Campaign Organization, Ekpenyong Cobham, said the enforcement of the judgement has been long overdue and appealed to INEC and the security agencies to do the needful by complying fully to the judgement.
But reacting to the development, the media spokesperson for the Owan-Enoh Campaign Organisation, Dan Amor said the “purported judgment” was an unnecessary distraction which cannot stand in law.
In a statement titled “The Purported Federal High Court, Calabar Judgment On Cross River APC”, he said, “The attention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State, has been drawn to a purported judgment delivered by the Federal High Court, Calabar, seeking to enforce an earlier controversial ruling of a Bwari, Abuja High Court that recognized the Etim John’s factional the state executive council of the party and directing the withdrawal of the candidates of the late state chairman, Dr. Matthew Achigbe, from state/federal assemblies to governorship, from the 2019 general elections, and wishes to state as follows:
“That the Bwari, Abuja High Court ruling has since been appealed by the defendant in the Appeal Court in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja pending hearing.
“That the claimant, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani had sought an Abuja High Court sitting in Apo, FCT, to declare him the governorship candidate of the APC in our state and his case summarily dismissed by the court presided over by Justice Adeniyi on January 7, 2019 on the following grounds:
(a). Usani’s case was full of contradictory claims and forgeries.
(b). Usani’s affidavit in support of originating summons was unreliable.
(c). Usani was not found to be an aspirant and his case not justiciable in tandem with the laws of the country.
(d). That the Etim John’s supervised primary was illegal and contrary to the party’s constitution and guidelines for primaries.
“That the primary which produced our candidates for the general election (from state assembly, National Assembly and governorship) was a Direct Primary conducted by the National Working Committee of the party as stipulated by the party’s constitution, as against the Etim John’s primary conducted by a state faction.
“We therefore see the purported judgment reportedly delivered today by the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar as an unnecessary distraction which cannot stand in law.”
He accused the state government of being behind the development.