‘Rice Man’ Drags Akpata To Court, Wants Ex-NBA President Disqualified As LP Guber Candidate

‘Rice Man’ Drags Akpata To Court, Wants Ex-NBA President Disqualified As LP Guber Candidate

A governorship aspirant of the Labour Party, Kenneth Imasuangbon, popularly called ‘The Rice Man,’ has dragged Olumide Akpata to court, seeking his disqualification as the governorship candidate of the party in the Edo State election scheduled for September 21.

Naija News reports that Imasuangbon filed two separate suits against Akpata at the Federal High Court Benin and Federal High Court Abuja.

In a suit No. FHC B/CS/26/2024 and filed at the Benin division by his counsel A.A. Malik & Co, Imasuangbon said that LP, which is the second defendant in the suit, was wrong by declaring Olumide Akpata the winner of the party’s primary election conducted on February 23, 2024.

In the Abuja division, Imasuangbon alleged that Akpata lied under oath and supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In the Abuja suit, he joined Akpata, the first defendant, with his running mate, Alufohai Faith, LP, and INEC as the second, third, and fourth defendants, respectively.

In the Benin suit, Imasuangbon said Akpata, a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), was not qualified to contest the primary, having violated the provisions of section 222(c) of the Nigeria constitution as well as Article 28 of the party’s guidelines for the conduct of the primary.

Imasuangbon further averred that votes garnered by the first defendant in the primary be declared invalid.

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

He further 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.

“To determine if the votes garnered in the purported primary should not be voided and wasted in the face of outright disregard to the constitutional provisions of the country and that of the party.

“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.

“To determine if the party conducted the February 23 governorship primary in a manner outlined, prescribed, or otherwise circumscribed by section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

“The court also determine if the primary did not run foul of the provisions of section 84(2), (3), (4) and (5) of the Electoral Act, 2022.”

Imasuangbon asked the court to stop INEC or any other agent from recognizing Akpata as the governorship candidate of the LP for the upcoming Edo gubernatorial 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 N20 million as the cost of the suit, Imasuangbon asked that a fresh primary should be conducted not later than 30 days after the judgment of the court.

However, for the Abuja division of the suit, Imasuangbon alleged that Akpata supplied false information to the INEC according to information provided in their form EC9.

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

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

He thus sought his disqualification and for Akpata to be restrained from participating in the September 21 governorship election in Edo State.

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