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2019: Appeal court confirms Rivers APC won’t field any candidate

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Port Harcourt Division on Wednesday dismissed the appeal filed Tonye Cole, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC, thus confirming the fears at several quarters that All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State might not field any candidate during the 2019 General elections.

The Court of Appeal also confirmed the judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu that Rivers State has no ward executives, local government executives and state executives as it dismissed the appeal filed by Rivers State APC State Chairman, Mr Ojukaye Flag Amachree.

The Court of Appeal Port Harcourt Division Special Panel Chaired by Justice Abubakar Yahaya dismissed the two appeals for lack of merit.

The third appeal which centred on the judgement by Justice Chinwendu Nwogu was dismissed because it was filed out of time and therefore statute barred.

Delivering his judgement Justice Yahaya, said the appeal against the Justice Chinwendu Nwogu High Court judgement on the party Congress crisis lacks merit, adding that the application for joinder failed to observe the 14 days rules of Appeal.

While delivering judgement on the substantive appeal number CA/PH/198 that bothered on Justice Nwogu’s judgement, the panel ruled that the Ojukaye faction failed to seek leave of court before appealing against the judgement.

Justice Yahaya ruled that the judgement delivered at the lower court was a consent judgement, adding that Ojukaye faction should have done the needful legally before approaching the court.

Counsel to Ibrahim Umar and 22 others, Mr Patrick Luke said that the rulings of the Court of Appeal confirmed that the judgement by Justice Chinwendu Nwogu remains valid and is still subsisting.

Counsel to Ojukaye Flag Amachree, Emenike Ebete noted that the court heard the three matters and in her wisdom arrived at the rulings confirming the judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu.

He, however, stated that the APC still has candidates for the election who emerged from valid primaries conducted by the party.

He said: “We have a candidate for the election because we did valid primaries. Until a court now gives a direct order to INEC that we should not be fielded. But no court has given such an order. No court in Nigeria has given such order to INEC not to use a candidate that emerged from our primaries”.

It will be recalled that on October 10, 2018, a High Court in Port Harcourt nullified the nomination of Mr Tonye Cole as the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State on the ground that his nomination is a function of illegality and unconstitutional acts.

The Court also nullified the Rivers State APC Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly Primaries conducted on the premise of the illegal ward congresses.

The High Court further nullified all the elections of Rivers APC Ward Executives, Local Government Executives and State Executive Committee that arose from the illegal ward congresses.

In a judgment delivered by Justice Chiwendu Nwogu in a suit filed by Ibrahim Imah and twenty-two others against the APC, the Court declared that the ward congresses of Rivers APC were illegal because they were not conducted in line with the APC Guidelines and Constitution.

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