Court restrains INEC from accepting any candidates from Rivers APC

Court restrains INEC from accepting any candidates from Rivers APC

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Court restrains INEC from accepting any candidates from Rivers APC
Omotosho stated that the direct and indirect primaries conducted by the Rivers APC, were illegal, null and void. Tony John, Port Harcourt A federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising any candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 elections in […]
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Omotosho stated that the direct and indirect primaries conducted by the Rivers APC, were illegal, null and void.

Tony John, Port Harcourt

A federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising any candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 elections in the state.

Over 84m registered voters to participate in 2019 poll — INEC

The court also nullified all nominations of the APC in the state for the forthcoming elections in 2019.

The court ruled specifically that the APC cannot participate in the governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly elections during the 2019 polls in the state.

Justice Kolawole Omotosho in his judgement in the suit filed by Senator Magnus Abe and others versus Rivers APC and others, declared that, for failing to respect the law, the APC must bear the consequences of its disobedience of the law.

Omotosho stated that the direct and indirect primaries conducted by the Rivers APC, were illegal, null and void.

The court further declared that both the direct and indirect primaries were held during the pendancy of the suit at the Rivers State High Court.

According to the court, the APC conducted the indirect primaries in gross disrespect of the pending suit before Justice Chinwendu Nwogu of the Rivers State High Court.

He noted that the judgement of Justice Nwogu, nullifying the primaries of the APC in the state, was yet to be set aside by an appellate court, hence it remains valid.

The court, therefore, held that the names sent by the Chibuike Amaechi-led faction and the National Working Committee of the APC to INEC for the 2019 elections were illegal and should be disregarded.

He also posited that the direct primaries conducted by the Senator Abe-led faction were illegal because the NWC of the APC did not monitor or participate in the processes.

Omotosho added that Justice Nwogu was clear when he nullified all primaries and congresses held during the pendancy of the suit, which included the direct primaries conducted by Abe’s faction.

He said that the Abe and the Amaechi factions have no leg to stand in view of the judgement. Hence, both factions were disqualified from participating in the elections.

The court also held that the APC in the state has no power to nominate and sponsor any candidates for the 2019 elections.

Omotosho condemned the invasion of the Rivers State High Court during the hearing of the suit, saying that actions must be taken to check the excesses of persons interested in destroying the rule of law.

However, the Rivers State chapter of the APC has said it would challenge yesterday’s Federal High Court judgement in Port Harcourt, which declared null and void its primaries that produced the governorship, National Assembly and House of Assembly candidates for the 2019 election in the state.

Spokesman of Amaechi’s faction, Chris Finebone, in a statement issued after the judgement in Port Harcourt, said the party had directed its lawyers to commence appeal process in a higher court.

Finebone said: “We have just received excerpts of the judgements delivered by Hon. Justice Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, in two separate suits.

“One was filed by Senator Magnus Abe and 49 others, seeking the court to declare them candidates of the APC in 2019 general election in Rivers State, and another filed by the PDP seeking the court to declare that the APC has no candidates for the election.”

We strongly feel that the trial court missed the mark in some of its decisions.

“We totally agree with the court that Senator Magnus Abe and the 48 other members of the party, who claimed to have emerged through an alleged direct primary election, were not and therefore could not be declared candidates of the APC in the 2019 general election in Rivers State.

“However, we do not agree with the court that the Davies Ibiamu Ikanya and Peter Odike-led executive committee of the party in Rivers State was still subsisting.

“The APC has the powers to dissolve its executive committee and that power was exercised on May 21, 2018. The APC, having dissolved that exec, it ceased to exist and could not be resurrected, even if the court finds, albeit wrongly, that there was no valid congress to replace the dissolved exec.

“The PDP’s case did not satisfy any of these conditions or circumstances. It is on this note that we strongly believe that APC will get victory in the superior court. We have, accordingly, instructed our lawyers to review the case and file the appeals immediately, in order not to temper with or jeopardize the already existing legal rights of our candidates before INEC.”

Presidency, APC mounting pressure on INEC to alter guidelines – PDP

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