All may not be well with the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State as Justice Rosemary Dugbo-Oghoghorie of the Calabar division of the Federal High Court has made an order of substituted service of the originating summons seeking to remove the current chairman, Alphonsus Eba.
Mr. Eba reportedly emerged as consensus chairman of the APC in Cross River State and was sworn in at the party’s national secretariat last month. Before being sworn in, Mr. Eba had resumed activities and was addressed as chairman-elect.
But, John “Jallo” Egbeji, who aspired for the position, proceeded to the Federal High Court to challenge Eba’s claim to the chairmanship whether in acting or substantive capacity, citing relevant positions of the APC’s Constitution and the Electoral Act.
The APC, Mr Eba and the Independent National Electoral Commission are the first, second, and third respondents in the originating summons in suit number FHC/CA/CS/33/2022.
And following claims of evasion of service, Justice Dugbo-Oghoghorie, while ruling on a motion-exparte filed by Egbeji’s counsel, James Ibor Esq., ordered that the originating processes and others be served via substituted means.
Her order reads: “The applicant is granted leave to serve the originating process and all the other processes in this suit on the second respondent (Eba) by pasting same at the gate of the All Progressives Congress Secretariat, Murtala Mohammed highway, Calabar.”
The case was adjourned until March 14, 2022, for report of service.
Mr. Egbeji, in his originating summons, is asking the court to determine the following questions:
“Whether by the Constitution of the 1st Respondent – Article 3, 20 and 31 and the Revised 2021 Nationwide State Congresses Schedule of Activities and Sections 85 (3), 87 (1) (2), (6)(7) (9)the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), the 1st and 3rd Respondents validly accept and accord the 2nd Respondent recognition as Chairman of the 1st Respondent in Cross River State without any election or having a valid consensus involving all aspirants/candidates.
“Whether by the Constitution of the 1st Respondent – Article 3, 20 and 31 and the Revised 2021 Nationwide State Congresses Schedule of Activities and Sections 85 (3), 87 (1) (2), (6)(7)(9)the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), the Applicant is the only qualified Aspirant/Candidate for the Office of the 1” Respondent State Chairman, and ought to be returned elected.
“Whether by the Constitution of the 1st Respondent – Article 31 (1) (2)and (3), the 2nd Respondent is qualified to contest election as 1″ Respondent Chairman of Cross River State, being a new entrant into the party.”
Also, Mr. Egbeji, who said he was denied the opportunity to purchase a nomination form, is seeking four reliefs, including; a declaration that he was entitled to participate and contest for the office of the state chairman and a declaration that the party’s decision not to sell him a form was in violation of articles 3 and 4 of the APC’s Constitution 2014 (as amended).
Furthermore, he seeks a declaration that Mr. Eba, being a new entrant into the APC in Cross River, is not qualified to hold the position of chairman in any capacity as stated in Article 31 of the APC (as amended), and a declaration that by the combined effect of articles 3, 20 and 31, he is the only valid aspirant standing election for the office of the chairman and ought to be returned as elected.