A Federal High Court in Akure has dismissed a suit filed to challenge the suspension of the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Isaac Kekemeke, and the appointment of Acting Chairman, Ade Adetimehin.
The court resolved that the suspension of Mr Kekemeke and the subsequent appointment of Mr Adetimehin as the state Acting Chairman were in order.
It also held that the plaintiffs, Gboyega Adedipe and Desmond Dejumola, lacked locus standI to institute the case, as only Mr Kekemeke had power to challenge his suspension in court provided he had exhausted internal mechanism of dispute resolution contained in the APC Constitution.
While delivering the judgement, the judge, F.A. Olubanjo, said the decision of an investigative panel that indicted Mr Kekemeke and the party’s state executive meeting held in June 2017 where he was suspended remained valid and should have been challenged internally by the plaintiffs rather than resorting to a court action.
The judge said it was a settled case in law that intra-party dispute must be exhaustively resolved internally before challenging same in court, noting that the plaintiffs had no record of handling the suspension of Mr Kekemeke and appointment of Mr Adetimehin within the party’s structures before heading to the court.
However, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Olugboyero Akinola, vowed that his clients would file a stay of execution and appeal against the judgement at the court of appeal immediately.
Mr Akinola said his clients rejected the judgment given that the judge refused to rule on the substantive suit that would have dealt with the issue at hand.
But the counsel to the defendants, Femi Emodamori, said the judgement reflected the true position of the APC Constitution, the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Mr Emodamori expressed satisfaction with the decision of the court to uphold preliminary objections against the suit.
The APC had said the decision of the court was a “no victor no vanquished” situation, as the tussle was a “family affair.”
The party in the state has been divided since the suspension of Mr Kekemeke, whose travails started shortly before the governorship primaries that saw Rotimi Akeredolu emerging as the candidate.