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Senator Heineken Lokpobiri

Court fixes Nov 4 for hearing of Lokpobiri’s suit challenging Bayelsa APC Guber primary

Senator Heineken Lokpobiri

A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa on Friday fixed Nov 4, 2019 to commence hearing in a suit filed by Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri challenging the governorship primaries conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sept. 4,2019.

Lokpobiri, who had approached the court to challenge the emergence of Mr David Lyon as APC’s candidate had brought a motion seeking an order of court to abridge the mandatory period for respondents in the suit from 21 to seven days and an accelerated hearing of the case.
Listed as respondents in the case are All Progressives Congress, David Lyon and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Lokpobiri had claimed that he won the Sept. 4 primary conducted by APC using the direct primary mode.
Counsel to Lokpobiri , Mr FB Olorogun had in his argument on the motion on notice urged the court to expedite the hearing as the governorship election, central to the litigation has been scheduled for Nov. 26, 2019.
However, Counsel to APC  Mr Sydney Ibanichuka submitted that although the election has been fixed, the respondents were entitled to exhaust the 21 day time window allowed by the rules of the court to respond to the claims of the plaintiff.
Ruling on the motion, Justice Jane Inyang noted that although time was of essence in the substantive case, the principle of fair hearing demands that the respondents be give reasonable time within her discretion to respond.
Inyang therefore abridged the 21 day time frame for respondents to file response to 14 days and adjourned to Nov 4 for hearing.
“In view of all the circumstances and the time frame, I have in the exercise of my discretionary powers to abridge the time required for parties to respond to motions and applications which must be judiciously exercised abridged the time to 14 days.
” I have also resolved that all pending motions will be consolidated and dealt with and the substantive suit will be death with, so the next adjourned date is a day of reckoning,” Inyang said.
 Aspirants who participated in the Sept 4 APC primary in Bayelsa are  Lokpobiri, immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture, Aganaba Steven, Ebitimi Amgbare, Diseye Poweigha, David Lyon and Ongoebi Etebu.
A former Cross River Resident Electoral Commissioner, Briyai Frankland, was disqualified.

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