2019: Appeal Court Affirms Disqualification of Rivers APC Candidates




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By Ndubuis Michaels 


The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, on Wednesday threw out three appeals filed by the state chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) and upheld the ruling of the state High Court that annulled the election of the party’s Ward, council and state executive councils and the governorship ticket of Tonye Dele-Cole. The appeals were filed by Mr. Ojukaye Flag Amachre-led faction of the party.

The judgment by Justice Chinwendu Nwogu of the state High Court is to the effect that APC Rivers State has no ward executives, local government executives and State Executives.
The Court of Appeal Port Harcourt Division Special Panel Chaired by Justice Abubakar Yahaya dismissed two of the appeals for lack of merit.
The third appeal which centred on the judgement by Justice Chinwendu Nwogu was dismissed because it was filed out of time and therefore statute barred.
Delivering his judgement Justice Yahaya, said the appeal against the Justice Chinwendu Nwogu High Court judgement on the party Congress crisis lacks merit, adding 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 bothered on Justice Nwogu’s judgement, the panel ruled that the Ojukaye 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 Ojukaye 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 Chinwendu Nwogu remains valid and is still subsisting.
Counsel to Ojukaye Flag Amachree, Emenike Ebete noted that the court heard the three matters and in her wisdom arrived at the rulings confirming the judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu.
He said: “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.
“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 judgment “. 
It will be recalled that on October 10, 2018, a High Court in Port Harcourt nullified the 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 Rivers State APC Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly Primaries 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 Constitution.

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