The Senator representing Delta Central, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has reacted to the Court of Appeal’s ruling on his election and that of all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant, Communication and Strategy, Godwin Anaughe, Omo-Agege said Friday’s ruling of the Appeal Court merely states that only the APC can appeal the judgement of the lower and not individual candidates.
The statement said Senator Omo-Agege had applied to the court to be joined in the appeal, a position which was rejected by the court in its ruling on Friday.
The statement reads: “Following the judgement delivered by Justice Toyin Adegoke of the Federal High Court, Asaba on the 18th of March, 2019 which was being misinterpreted in some quarters to have nullified the Delta State Executive Committee led by our able chairman, Prophet Jones Ode Erue and the candidacy of Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and other candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Delta State, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Rev. Francis Waive filed an application seeking the leave of Court to join as parties to the Appeal, on behalf of themselves and other candidates of the APC, against the judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba.
“It is instructive to note that the ruling delivered by the Court of Appeal today only struck out the application on the ground that Senator Omo-Agege and Rev. Waive cannot appeal the judgement as individuals since they are both members of APC who can appeal the judgement on their behalf. The APC has already filed an appeal against the said judgement.
“Furthermore, it is important to note that today’s ruling delivered by the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin has not and did not determine the appeal filed before it by the APC.
“We reiterate that the Consent Judgement delivered by Justice A.I. Chikere of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja is still valid and subsisting and all the recent happenings in court have neither invalidated nor set aside the Consent Judgement. Therefore, the Prophet Jones Ode Erue led Exco remains the authentic and legitimate APC Executive Committee of Delta State, so also are all the candidates of APC in the just concluded 2019 general elections.
“It is important to note further that the recent judgement delivered by Justice U. A. Ogakwu of the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar made it succinctly clear in the case of Sir John Ochala & 5 ORS. VS. Hon. Godwin Etim John and 2 ORS that “… It is settled law that a court cannot make a finding that will prejudicial against a person that is neither before it nor a party to the case and cannot in the same vain grant a relief which will affect a person who is not a party in the suit: OKONKWO vs. OKAGBUE (1994) 9 NWLR (PT 368) 301. The effect of Order(s) made against persons not joined as a party is that such order is a nullity and of no effect”.
“This remains the position of the law as affirmed by the Supreme Court in plethora of cases, including but not limited to the case of OKONTA VS PHILIP.
“It is therefore foolhardy for anyone to suggest that today’s ruling delivered by the Court of Appeal, Benin City upheld the earlier judgement delivered by the Federal High Court, Asaba and as such touches on the legal rights of the APC candidates in Delta State.
“In conclusion therefore, as previously posited, Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and other candidates of the APC for 2019.general election are not bound by the said judgement delivered by Justice Toyin Adegoke of Federal High Court, Asaba. The status of all the candidates of the APC in Delta State for the 2019 general election remain valid and legitimate.”