The Court of Appeal, sitting in Benin City, on Wednesday, set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, delivered on July 13, 2020, which ruled against the relocation of the Edo State All Progressives Congress, APC, Secretariat from No.51, Airport Road, Benin City, to No.18, Ighiwiyisi Street, off Airport road, Benin City.
The Federal High Court in its judgment ruled in his favour.
Dissatisfied with the decision, the factional APC, through its Counsel, Dr. West Idahosa, leading Douglas Ogbankwa, Famous Osawaru and others, appealed the decision 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 praised for his industry and in raising recondite and novel issues of Law.
The Court In resolving the issues for determination in the Appeal, 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.
Validating the expulsion of Kenneth Asekomhe from the APC, 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 party, holding that only valid members of a political party can question its decision governing its internal affairs.
Besides, the Court of Appeal further held that the action was a pre-election matter and was statute barred as it was not filed within the 14 days constitutional threshold, as provided by Section 285 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ,1999 (As Amended ),by the 4th Alteration.
Consequently, the Court of Appeal, in a judgement delivered by Justice Frederick Oziakpono Oho, allowed the appeal and set aside the decision of the Federal High Court.
Recall that at the heat of the crisis of confidence between Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, then of the APC, and his erstwhile benefactor and predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, a faction of the party loyal to Oshiomhole, who then was the National Chairman of the party, had relocated the Secretariat from Airport Road, Benin, to a building off the Airport Road.
In doing that, the Oshiomhole group had informed the National Working Committee, NWC, headed by the former labour leader.
But the state Deputy Chairman, Pastor Kenneth Asekhome, who the Oshiomhole faction had claimed to have been expelled over alleged filing of numerous frivolous actions against the party which is against the Constitution of the APC, challenged the action at the Federal High Court to stop the relocation.
Asekhome who cited then impending Edo State gubernatorial election had claimed amongst others that sensitive information regarding the election might be lost if the relocation was allowed.