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Supreme Court sets aside Appeal Court’s decision on Rivers APC Congresses

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APCTHE Supreme Court on Monday set aside the decision of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, which permitted the conduct of congresses by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.

The order of the Appeal Court issued on June 21, 2018, against the ruling of a Rivers State High Court was voided by the apex court on the grounds that the appellate court acted in bad faith.

Justice Centus Chima Nweze, in a judgment in an appeal filed by one Abdullahi Umar, held that the Court of Appeal ought not to have vacated the injunctive order issued against the APC by the Rivers State High Court on the conduct of the congresses.

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Recall that Justice A. C. Nwosu of the Rivers State High Court, had in an exparte motion filed by Umar restrained the APC from conducting the congresses pending the determination of the suit instituted by Umar, complaining against his marginalisation and 22 others in the said congresses.

But while the injunctive order of the High Court was subsisting, the APC went ahead and conducted the ward, local government and state congresses on May 19, 20 and 21.

After the conduct of the congresses, the Court of Appeal, in a ruling on an application by APC seeking stay of execution of the High Court injunctive order and stay of proceedings of the main suit, vacated the injunctive order and refused to stay hearing of the substantive matter, prompting Umar to take his matter to the Supreme Court.

The Apex Court in its judgment faulted the Appeal Court for judicially indulging APC and vacating the injunctive order in the party’s favour when there is evidence that the APC was in contempt of court.

The court further held that the Court of Appeal ought not to have granted its discretion in favour of APC because the party was in violation of the order of the High Court.

According to Justice Nweze, the Appeal Court has a duty to protect a lawful subsisting order and ought not to have granted favourable judicial discretion for a party that willingly disobeyed a valid court order.

He said, “It is unfortunate and wrongful for the Court of Appeal to have entertained a party in contempt of a valid court order to the extent of granting judicial favour by way of staying of execution of an injunctive order when the party at the centre of the dispute was in gross contempt of court.

“It is a serious matter for anyone to flout a court order and in the instant case, it is clear that the respondent (APC) was in grave disobedience to a lawful court orders”, the court held, adding also that, it is ill-fated for the court of Appeal to have departed from various decision of the Supreme Court that any party in contempt of court ought not to be granted judicial discretion and in this matter, the Appeal Court is bound to follow Supreme Court final decision.

The Apex court, in its judgment delivered yesterday, nullified and set aside the decision of the Appeal Court delivered on June 21, 2018.

The post Supreme Court sets aside Appeal Court’s decision on Rivers APC Congresses appeared first on Tribune.

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