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Rivers: Appeal Court strikes out APC appeal against squashed congresses

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The Court nullified the State APC senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly primaries on the basis that they were illegal ward congresses.

Tony John, Port Harcourt

The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, yesterday confirmed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State will not field candidates for the 2019 elections, dismissing the appeal filed by factional Rivers State APC governorship candidate Tonye Cole.

READ ALSO: Rivers 2019: We’ll appeal judgment on Congresses, primaries – APC

The Court also confirmed the judgement of Justice Chinwendu Nworgu that the state has no ward executives, local government executives and state executives, as it dismissed the appeal filed by sacked Rivers APC chairman Ojukaye Flag-Amachree.

The Appeal Court 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 Nworgu, was dismissed because it was filed out of time and, therefore, statute barred.

Delivering his judgement, Justice Yahaya said the appeal against the Justice Nworgu’s High Court judgement on the party congress crisis, lacked merit.

He added that the application for joinder failed to observed the 14 days rules of appeal.

While delivering judgement on the substantive appeal number CA/PH/198, that bordered on Justice Nwogu’s judgement, the panel ruled that the Flag-Amachree 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 Flag-Amachree 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 confirm that the judgement by Justice Nworgu remains valid and is still subsisting.

Counsel to Flag-Amachree, Emenike Ebete, noted that the court heard the three matters and “in its wisdom” arrived at the rulings confirming the judgement of Justice Nworgu.

“Arguments were taken, but the Court in its infinite wisdom, held that in appeal 461, that is the substantive appeal, that the consent judgement of the High Court of Rivers State and by provision of the constitution, we ought to have sought leave of Court to Appeal against that consent judgement. That is their own decision and they struck it out,” he said.

“The one for the candidates and the party state excos, we were dismissed on the ground that it was a pre-election matter, that we did not bring the application within 14 days after decision was delivered on October 10. What that means is that we will approach the Supreme Court to contest the judgement.”

It would be recalled that on October 10, 2018, a High Court in Port Harcourt nullified the nomination of Cole as the governorship candidate of the APC in the State on the ground that his nomination was as a result of illegality and unconstitutional acts.

The Court also nullified the State APC senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly primaries on the basis that they were 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 Nworgu in a suit filed by Ibrahim Umar and 22 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.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court annuls APC Rivers congresses

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