A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt on Monday 7th
The court which was presided over by Justice Kolawole Omotosho also directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognizing any of the two candidates for the 2019 general elections.
The two factions of Rivers State APC are the Rotimi Amaechi faction which produced oil magnate and businessman Tonye Cole as the governorship candidate and the faction of Senator Magnus Abe which produced him as the candidate of the APC during the direct and indirect primaries.
However, the National Secretariat of the APC recognized Tonye Cole as the party’s candidate in Rivers State APC with name forwarded to INEC.
In a suit filed by Mr Magnus Abe, the court declared that the APC, for failing to respect the law, must bear the consequences of her disobedience to the law.
Justice Kolawole Omotosho declared that both the direct and indirect primaries were held during the pendency 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 the Rivers State High Court.
He noted that the judgment of the state high court nullifying the primaries of the APC in Rivers State is yet to be set aside by an appellate court, hence it remains valid.
The court, therefore held that the names sent by the Amaechi faction and the National Working Committee of the APC to INEC for the 2019 general elections were illegal and should be disregarded.
He added that the direct primaries conducted by the Magnus Abe faction were illegal because the National Working Committee of APC did not monitor or participate in the processes.
The judge added that the state high court was clear when it nullified all primaries and congresses held during the pendency of the suit, which included the direct primaries conducted by the Abe faction.
He said that both the Magnus Abe and the Amaechi factions have no leg to stand in view of the judgement, hence both factions are disqualified from participating in the elections.
The court held that the APC in Rivers State has no power to nominate and sponsor any candidates for the 2019 General elections.
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 Rivers State.
The Rivers State APC has also said that it will appeal the above ruling and are confident of getting victory in the Superior Courts.
According to the party leadership in Rivers State in a statement by the Director of Media and Public Communications of Rivers State Chris Finebone.
It said this was ‘’in order not to tamper or jeopardise the already existing legal rights of our candidates before INEC.”
Reacting to Mr Omotosho’s ruling on interference in another party’s internal affairs, the party said parties had the exclusive right of tackling their private issues.
‘’As the laws remain today, the issue of nomination of candidates of a political party remains the exclusive right and preserve of that political party, and any dispute arising thereto also remains within that political party and its aggrieved members.
‘’Under the Electoral Act 2010, a third party (PDP) can only challenge the nomination of the APC candidates as prescribed in Section 31(5) & (6), or challenge the return of APC candidates in accordance with Section 138(1) of the Electoral Act.
‘’Nothing more imaginary can fit into the contemplation of the Nigerian electoral laws.
‘’We therefore call on all members of the APC in Rivers State to remain calm, focused, undaunted and go about their electioneering business with equanimity. We believe that at the end, victory will be served,’’ it said.
Credit: Premium Times NG