Supreme Courts Bars APC Candidates From Feb 16 Polls in Rivers State

…PDP Says it should teach a lesson on impunity

… APC Says it would study it before deciding next step

 

By Ayo Kehinde

 

A five-man panel of Justices led by Justice Mohammed Dattijo has knocked the All Progressives Congress governorship, National and State House of Assembly candidates from the general elections holding on Saturday, February 16.

The justices on Friday, upheld the cancellation of the governorship primaries conducted by a faction of the Rivers state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, saying it lacked transparency.

The Supreme Court’s judgement upholds the rulings of the Court of Appeal and the High Court in Rivers State which earlier dismissed the appeal filed by the Rivers State’s All Progressives Congress’ chairman, Flag Ojukaye, challenging the judgements cancelling the conduct of the party’s primaries. The Supreme court’s ruling today entails that the the Rivers State APC will not be presenting any candidates for the National Assembly, Governorship and House of Assembly elections beginning Feb. 16th.

According to Justice Barga, who read apex court the ruling; “ it is my considered opinion that this appeal must be given a decent burial. The appeal having been withdrawn at the lower court is deemed distilled. That is what the lower court failed or evaded to do. Therefore, by virtue of section 22 of the Supreme Court act 2004, the lower court having failed to exercise its powers provided under Order 11 Rule 5, this court is bound to do so. Thus I would allow the appeal and set aside the ruling of the lower court dated October 31st 2018. I hereby dismissed the Appeal no I ca/ph, 2018.

The Ojukaye Flag Amachree’s led APC had appealed the ruling of Justice Chinwedu Nwogu and the nomination of Mr Tonye Cole as the party’s governorship candidate in the general elections.

Reactions have come from the Peoples Democratic Party, which hailed the judgment and the APC, which considered it in bad taste.

According to Mr Kola Ologbodinyan, the PDP National Publicity Secretary and also for the party campaign organisation, the judgment would serve as a lesson to politicians with no respect for due process and the rule of law

He said: “The judgment of the Supreme Court serves as a huge lesson to politicians and political parties, to eschew impunity and always conduct their affairs in a manner that is in tandem with the provision of the law.

“The courage displayed by the Supreme Court in delivering the judgment at this critical time in our national life has also restored the confidence of Nigerians in the institution of the Judiciary and our democratic order.

“The PDP, however, urges its teeming members across the country to continue to work hard in consolidating on the already established victory of our great party in all elections, beginning with next Saturday’s Presidential election.”

For the ruling APC, “We wonder what this is all about. If the same parameters used by INEC were applied to the PDP, the party should not field candidates in all the 36 states, said Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu

He said the party’s legal department would review the case and then “we would then say what is the next step”.

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