2019: Court Nullifies Indirect Rivers APC Governorship Nominations

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▪Also nullifies Ojukaye Exco, Indirect Rivers APC Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly Nominations

A High Court in Port Harcourt on Wednesday nullified the indirect governorship primary 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 the indirect primary nominations of Rivers State APC Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly Primaries candidates 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 the Constitution.

Justice Nwogu set aside the ward congresses of Rivers APC on May 19, 2018, Local Government Congresses of May 19, 2018 and State Congress of the party of May 21, 2018.

He stated that all actions taken by the APC during the pedancy of the suit have been set aside because they are illegal and unconstitutional.

Justice Nwogu declared that all those who purchased nomination forms for the ward congresses were entitled to contest the ward congresses of May 19, 2018, but were unjustly excluded by the party.

He said: “The Rule by might must be checked by the rule of law. We must restore the hope of the common man in the justice system”.

Justice Nwogu who based his judgement on the Amaechi versus INEC Matter of 2007, noted that having studied the submissions in the matter, he was bound to make consequential orders to ensure that justice was done in the case.

He stated that the High Court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter as an Appeal filed by the respondents at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt to stop proceedings on the suit was rejected by the Appellate Court on September 21, 2018.

He stated that all through the hearing, the APC filed no counter-affidavit denying the facts of the matter as presented by the applicants in the originating summons.

Justice Nwogu said that it is trite law that facts not disputed are deemed admitted.

On the suit filed in an Abuja High Court by a faction of the APC , Justice Nwogu declared that the court is of coordinate jurisdiction with the High Court in Port Harcourt and cannot sit in appeal over it. He added that the suit filed by Ibrahim Imah, preceded that of the Abuja High Court by a faction of the Rivers State APC.

Earlier before the delivery of the judgment, a counsel to the APC, Prince OSM Azunda moved a motion seeking to stop the delivery of the judgment.

However, Justice Nwogu dismissed his application which he termed as a ploy to arrest the judgement.

Following the judgment, all indirect Governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and state assembly primaries conducted on the basis of the Ojukaye led delegates/executives of the APC no longer exists.

The Ojukaye led APC State Working Committee, Local Government Working Committees and Ward Executives no longer exists.

The implication of this judgment is that the APC has only candidates elected through its Direct primaries remains valid candidates of the party for next year’s General election.

The direct Primary mode of election which produced Governorship, Senatorial, House of Representatives and state assembly candidates in Rivers APC is not under any legal challenge.


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