Edo 2024: Imansuangbon asks court to disqualify Olumide Akpata as LP candidate

Kenneth Imansuangbon

 By Jethro Ibileke

Barr. Kenneth Imansuangbon, a governorship aspirant of the Labour Party (LP) in Edo, has filed two separate suits in his quest to disqualify Olumide Akpata, the party’s candidate in the 21 September governorship election in the State.

In the first suit filed at the Federal High Court in Benin, and marked FHC B/CS/26/2024, by his counsel, A. A. Malik & Co, Imansuangbon insisted that the Labour Party erred by declaring Olumide Akpata the winner of the party’s primary conducted on 23 February, 2024.

Akpata, LP and INEC are listed as the first, second and third defendants respectively in the Benin suit.

In the Benin suit, Imansuangbon said Akpata was not qualified to qualified to have contested the primary election, having violated the provisions of the section 222(c) of the Nigeria Constitution, as well as Article 28 of the party’s guidelines for the conduct of the primary.

Imansuangbon further further asked the court to declared invalid and wasted, all votes garnered by the first defendant in the primary election.

The plaintiff who listed nine issues for determination and 18 others for declaration by the court, asked the court to set aside the LP’s 23 February governorship primary election in the Edo state.

He asked the court to determine if Akpata is qualified to have contested the primary having failed to sign or endorse the indemnity form issued him by the second defendant.

He also asked the court to determine if the votes garnered in the purported primary election should not be

voided and wasted in the face of outright disregard to the constitutional provisions of the country and that of the party.

Similarly, Imansuangbon asked the court to determine if he that scored the second highest votes in the said primary should not be declared the winner and validly nominated to be the governorship candidate of the LP.

Alternatively, the court was asked to determine if party conducted the 23 February governorship primary in a manner outlined, prescribed or otherwise circumscribed by section 84 of the electoral Act, 2022.

That the court also determine if the primary did not run foul of the provisions of section 84(2), (3), (4) & (5) of the electoral Act, 2022.

In his declaration, the plaintiff told the court to bar the INEC or any other agent, from recognizing Akpata as the governorship candidate of the LP for the 21 September Edo governorship election.

He also called for the withdrawal of the certificate of return issued by the second defendant to the first defendant as the purported winner of the said primary.

While asking for the sum of ₦20 million as cost of the suit, Imansuangbon asked that a fresh primary should be conducted not later than 30 days of the judgement of the court.

In the second suit filed on 12 April, 2024, at the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, Imansuangbon alleged that Akpata and his running mate, Alufohai Faith, lied under oat and supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Listed as first, second, third and fourth defendants in the suits are Olumide Akpata, his running mate, Alufohai Faith, LP and INEC respectively.

The suit was accompanied with affidavits in support of the originating summon.

Imansuangbon alleged Akpata supplied false information to the INEC according to information provided in their form EC9.

He said where Akpata claimed to have been Akpata Olumide Anthony, but filled his name to be Akpata Olumide Osaigbovo.

Similarly, his running mate who said that she was born in 1981, claimed to have had her first school leaving certificate same year she was born.

She was also alleged have gotten three certificates, OND, HND and PGD in the same year in 2005.

According to Imansuangbon, their actions contravene the provisions of section 29(5) of the 2022 electoral Act and also section 182(i),(a) &(j) of the 1999 constitution of the federal government of Nigeria as amended.

He thus sought for their disqualification and restrained from participating in the 21 September governorship election in Edo State.