A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday fixed July 3 for hearing in the suit filed by the African Peoples Congress (APC) seeking to declare as illegal the registration of All Progressives Congress (APC) as a political party by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2013.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the plaintiffs, Chief O. M. Ikegwuonu and 29 others who are acting on behalf of the African Peoples Congress, through their counsel, Mr. Ikoro. N. Ikoro, told the court that there were two pending applications dated July 8, 2013 and May 15, 2014 respectively.
Ikoro, however, withdrew one of the applications wherein he sought to restrain INEC from registering the All Progressives Congress as a political party since INEC had already registered it.
“This matter was pending in court but INEC went ahead to register the All Progressives Congress. So, it is no longer relevant,” he told the court.
Subsequently, the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, struck out the application since INEC did not oppose the withdrawal.
On the second pending application, Ikoro informed the court that it was ripe for hearing, but counsel to the INEC, Ibrahim Bawa, objected to taking the application.
Bawa said: “We are in court today to argue on the motion on notice that sought to restrain INEC from registering APC, which has been struck out.
“The application dated 15 May 15, 2013, is praying the court to declare as illegal the registration of APC as a political party by INEC, since the matter was before the court.”
Ikoro had in the court processes argued that “Section 66 (a) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, stated clearly that when a suit is pending before the court, all parties in the matter should maintain status quo, awaiting the full determination of the suit.”
The plaintiffs’ counsel pleaded with the court to timeously determine the matter, saying it was in the national interest.
After listening to counsel’s submissions, the trial judge, Justice Kolawole said: “Plaintiffs motion dated May 15, 2013, is adjourned to 3 July, 2014, for hearing.”
The African Peoples Congress had in March 2013 approached INEC to be registered as a political party, but was turned down which subsequently led to the association dragging INEC