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Edo State Governorship Tussle: APC vs Pastor Kenneth Asekhome & 2 Ors.: Appeal No : CA/B/169/20

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Edo State Governorship Tussle: APC vs Pastor Kenneth Asekhome & 2 Ors.: Appeal No : CA/B/169/20

Court of Appeal, Benin Sets aside Judgment of the Federal High Court 2, Benin City , presided over by the Hon Justice A A. Demi- Ajayi on the relocation of APC Secretariat in Edo State ,
Says among other things that the Plaintiffs lack Locus Standi having been expelled from the APC before the Institution of the Case.

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Benin City in the morning of 19th May 2021 , set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, delivered on the 13th day of July 2020, wherein it resolved 5 of the 7 issues distilled by the Appellant’s counsel, in favour of the Appellant.

You will recall that Pastor Kenneth Asekhome, a former Deputy State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress was expelled from the APC on 13/06/2020 due largely to filing of numerous frivolous actions against the party which is against the Constitution of the APC. The APC in Edo State also relocated its Secretariat in Edo State after informing the National Body of this development.

Dissatisfied with the decision and without recourse to internal mechanism created by the party for that purpose, Pastor Kenneth Asekhome approached the Federal High Court 2, Benin City to stop the APC from relocating its office from No.51, Airport road, Benin City to No.18, Ighiwiyisi Street, off Airport road, Benin City whilst citing the impending Edo State gubernatorial election as the universe of his argument. He claimed amongst others that sensitive information regarding the election may be lost if the relocation was allowed. Without recourse to established legal principles, the trial court veered off tangent and find in his favour against the Appellant -APC herein.

Dissatisfied with the decision above, the Appellant, qua, its Counsel in an appeal filed by Dr. West Idahosa, Douglas Ogbankwa Esq, Famous Osawaru and others appealed to the Court of appeal and distilled 7 issues in his brief for determination of the appeal. The Appeal was however argued by Anderson Asemota, whom the Court of Appeal commended for the industry out into the Appeal as the Appeal raised recondite and novel issues of Law.

In resolving the issues for determination in the Appeal, the Court of Appeal, Benin Division held inter alia: that the issue of location or relocation of a political party Secretariat, dovetails into the domestic prism of the political party and the court has no jurisdiction whatsoever to interfere or decide for a political party where to locate or relocate its office or party Secretariat to. Also, while validating the expulsion of Kenneth Asekomhe from the All Progressive Congress, the court held that the 1st Respondent -Kenneth Asekomhe, having been expelled from the party, had no locus standi to institute the action against the All Progressives Congress as only valid members of a political party can question its decision governing its internal affairs. It held also that the action was a pre-election matter and was statute-barred as it was not filed within the 14 days constitutional threshold, donated by Section 285 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (As Amended ),by the 4th Alteration.

Consequently, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and set aside the decision of the Federal High Court.

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