2019 Election; ‘Path Cleared’ For Wike As Court Rules That APC Has No Candidate In Rivers

The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt yesterday dismissed all appeals by the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the nullification of its primaries.

The governorship candidate, Mr. Tonye Cole, state chairman Ojukaye Flag-Amachree and others had filed the appeals challenging the October 10, 2018 judgment of the state High Court, which nullified the party’s congresses and primaries.The Chairman of the appeal panel, Justice Abubakar Datti Yayaha, asserted that the appeals by Cole and others lacked competence and therefore struck them out. The court also held that being a pre-election matter, the suits were filed out of time and were statute-barred.

An application by Cole and 48 other candidates of the APC that emerged through the indirect primaries was dismissed on the ground that they could not appeal a matter they were not party to, especially when those persons were already in serial contempt of court.

The court also dismissed a similar application filed by Flag-Amachree and others representing party’s executives at all levels that emerged through the congresses conducted in defiance of a valid court order.Yahaya said the appeal against the Justice Chinwendu Nwogu High Court judgment on the party’s congress crisis lacked merit. He said Flag-Amachree and others failed to seek leave of the court before appealing against the judgment.

He further explained that the judgment delivered at the lower court nullifying the congresses and primaries was a consent judgment and to that end, Cole, Flag-Amachree and others should have done the needful legally before approaching the court.

The implication of the appellate court’s verdict is that the judgment delivered by Nwogu still subsists. While delivering judgment in a suit filed by Ibrahim Imah and 22 others against the APC, Nwogu declared that the ward congresses were illegal because they were not conducted in line with APC guidelines and constitution. The judge proceeded to nullify the nomination of Cole as governorship candidate on the ground that his nomination was marred by illegality and unconstitutionality.

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