The effort by Lamidi Apapa’s side to prevent Labour Party candidate Athan Achonu from running for Governor of Imo State on Saturday was soundly defeated in the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The contentious Labour Party faction’s attempt to have their candidate disqualified from the governor’s race was denied by the court.

Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled against the ex-parte application to prevent Achonu from running in the election, despite the fact that the application was argued by Mohammed Ndarani Mohammed, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN and a member of the faction’s legal team.

Instead of approving the plea, Justice Ekwo instructed Apapa and the other members of his group to serve notice of the suit on the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.

The faction had in the ex-parte application marked FCH/ABJ/CS/1357/2023, applied for an order of interim injunction restraining INEC from recognising or according recognition to any other person laying claim to the gubernatorial ticket of the party in Imo State slated for November 11 other than Chief Ukaegbu Ikechukwu Joseph who emerged from Apapa led primary election of April 16, 2023.

The group also requested that INEC be ordered to post Ukaegbu Joseph’s name as the legitimate gubernatorial and party flagbearer in Imo State.

The group also requested that Lamidi Apapa be made the party’s national chairman and Lawal Saleh its national secretary on the INEC website.

After hearing the attorney’s arguments, Justice Ekwo ruled that he would not grant the ex-parte motion and instead instructed the faction to file a move on notice against INEC, the only defendant in the case.

I will not grant your application today, and you must summon INEC to court so it may present its position.

To give Apapa’s faction time to air its objections and INEC time to counterargue, the judge has set a further mention in the matter for November 10.

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