APC Primary: Appeal Court Dismisses Suit Against Governor Ayade

It was from the fresh primary that Ayade emerged as the sole contestant and winner on July 14, 2022.

A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade. Twitter: @senatorbenayade


The Court of Appeal Abuja Division has dismissed a suit filed against the Cross River State Governor over the May 28 Primary of the All Progressives Congress for the Cross River North Senatorial District

The suit was filed by another aspirant Cecilia Adams, who also participated in the primary.

Delivering Judgement, the appellate court led by Justice Stephen Adah unanimously upheld the decision of Justice Evelyn Maha of the Federal High Court Abuja.

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Adams had lost at the trial court where she sought to challenge the candidature of Governor Ayade for election into the National Assembly.

Having scored zero votes at the primary, she refused to participate in the fresh one conducted on July 14, 2022.

The court dismissed the appeal seeking to set aside the judgment of the trial court and to grant the reliefs sought in its originating summons which among others, was to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise, accept and publish her name as the candidate of the APC for the Cross River North Senatorial District.

Also joined as co-respondents with Ayade in the appeal challenging the party’s primary were the APC, Martin Orim and INEC (the 1st, 2nd and 4th Defendants respectively). The 2nd Defendant, Martin Orim, had earlier won the May 28 2022 senatorial primary; but later resigned to enable a fresh primary to be conducted by INEC.

It was from the fresh primary that Ayade emerged as the sole contestant and winner on July 14, 2022, all of which were in strict compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The appellant had through an originating summon filed on July 26, 2022, approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, praying amongst others for “an order of perpetual injunction restraining  (INEC), their agents, servants, affiliates or privies from recognising and dealing with the 2nd and 3rd Defendants, or any other person, as the 2nd Defendants candidate for the Cross River North Senatorial District election in the forthcoming National Assembly elections to be held on the 25th February 2023 (or any other date that may be fixed).”

Counsel for Ayade and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, had argued that Cecilia Adams was not entitled to the reliefs sought before the court. The trial court agreed with him and dismissed the claims of Adams in its entirety.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial court, she proceeded to the appellate court, seeking to overturn the decision of the lower court.

Similarly, the appellate court in its judgment dismissed the appeal in its entirety and upheld the decision of the lower court, stating that since the decision of the lower court was not perverse as it reflected the true position of the law, the appellate court had no business interfering with such a judgment.