From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The internal crisis rocking the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took another turn on Wednesday as Senator Jimoh Ibrahim filed a suit at the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, urging the court to nullify the nomination of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa as the party’s candidate for the November governorship election.

Justice Iyang Ekwo has granted Jimoh’s request to have the court processes served on the governor by substituted means. The APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are also joined as co-defendants in the suit.

Ibrahim, representing Ondo South in the Senate, is praying the court to cancel Aiyedatiwa’s nomination on the grounds that the April 20 primary election that produced him was unlawful.

In the suit filed on his behalf by Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Chris Uche, Ibrahim, a governorship aspirant who participated in the primary election, alleged that the poll was marred by irregularities.

He claimed that sections 221 and 228 of the 1999 Constitution and section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022 were violated in the conduct of the disputed primary election by the APC.

He alleged that some delegates who could have voted for him were not accredited, making the primary election liable to be set aside and nullified.

Ibrahim is therefore praying the court to bar INEC from accepting Governor Aiyedatiwa as the APC governorship candidate in the upcoming November 16 gubernatorial election in Ondo State.

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He also seeks an order of perpetual injunction prohibiting Governor Aiyedatiwa from holding himself out or parading himself as the APC governorship candidate.

Similarly, Ibrahim wants the court to set aside the purported primary election and compel the APC to conduct a fresh one in compliance with sections 221 and 228 of the 1999 Constitution and section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022.

The aggrieved governorship aspirant prayed the Federal High Court to delist the names of the APC and Aiyedatiwa from the political parties and candidates that would participate in the gubernatorial poll.

Plaintiff further requested that APC and Governor Aiyedatiwa be stripped of all rights except a fresh primary election is lawfully conducted for the purpose of nominating a candidate for the governorship election.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, Senator Ibrahim, through his lawyer, moved an ex-parte application for an order of substituted service of court process on Aiyedatiwa through any staff of the APC at the National Secretariat in Abuja.

Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo granted the request in a brief ruling, ordering that the process in the suit be served on the Ondo State Governor through the APC.

Justice Ekwo subsequently fixed May 14 for the hearing in the suit.