A Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, the Edo State Capital has affirmed the Prophet Jones Erue-led Executive of the All Progressives Congress in Delta State thereby vacating an earlier judgment by an Asaba High Court which nullified the congress that produced the executive.
The court, in a ruling delivered on Wednesday by Justice M A.A Edumein on behalf of the three-man panel justices, said the Chief Adolo Okotie-Eboh-led faction of the party failed to seek internal mechanism in resolving their grievances before heading to court following the outcome of the April 2014 congress of the party held in Asaba, the Delta State Capital.
Justice M. N. Obi of a Delta State High Court, sitting in Asaba, had in a judgment in 2016 nullified the congress that produced the Jones Erue-led executive of the APC in a suit filed by Chief Adolo Okotie-Eboh, who contested the legality of the congress in April 2014.
But Justice Edumein in Wednesday ruling said the litigants failed to follow the laid down guideline in the party constitution in seeking redress whilst the case was being struck out because it was premature.
The party in a statement on Thursday announcing the judgment said the judgment would put to an end the long-drawn legal battle which had factionalised the party in the state, noting that it was a victory for all members of the party including the litigants.
Erue, in a statement signed by the party Acting State Publicity Secretary, Engr. Leonard Obibi, called on party faithful to put their personal differences outside and work for the unity and victory of the party in forthcoming elections in the state.
It read, “The Court of Appeal Benin City sat in judgment, 5th July 2017, over a pending appeal challenging the ruling of Federal High Court, Warri which vacated the APC Delta State Exco led by Prophet Jones Ode Erue, and also authorised a repeat Congress.
“Prophet Jones Erue wishes to first and foremost thank God for the outcome of this long-drawn case which for years now had cast a blight on the legal standing of the State Executive Committee. Notwithstanding this noble and just outcome, Prophet Jones Erue also wishes to emphasise that this result only serves as an impetus to refocus and harness the strengths of the party into a formidable organ that all its members will be proud of.
“To this end, Prophet Jones Erue has advised all party members to note that with this judgment, “there is no victor, and no vanquished”‘; and that “it is now time to pull our internal capacity together, as this will be necessary to wrestle power from the ruling party in the State in forthcoming elections.”
Erue, while commending the judges for the judgment, added “today is a day for mutual forgiveness; and it is important to begin a new phase that will erase divisions in our midst while preparing all our members to redirect their energies towards our common interests.”