By Precious Akutamadu
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday reacted to the judgments of the Federal High Court on two separate suits against it, assuring that it would get victory in the superior court.
The suits were filed by Sen. Magnus Abe and others against Rivers APC and others, and also by the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against APC and INEC.
The presiding judge, Justice Kolawole Omotosho, had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to restrain all the candidates of the APC from participating in the 2019 general elections in Rivers over disobedience to court order.
Omotosho also ruled that APC would not participate in governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly elections during the forthcoming 2019 polls in Rivers.
He declared as illegal, null and void the direct and indirect primaries of the party in the state, saying they were held while the judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu nullifying the primaries was still pending.
“Importance of obedience and compliance to court order is paramount. Rule of law must be adhered to for the country to move forward. Political parties should always obey the order of the court,’’ the judge had said.
On interference in another party’s internal affairs, the judge ruled that the newly expanded locus as amended in Electoral Act allowed other political parties to challenge the affairs of another, in an error.
But in the party’s reaction, signed by Chris Finebone of Media and Publicity Department in Rivers, APC said it had instructed its lawyers to review the case and file appeal immediately.
It said this was “in order not to tamper or jeopardise the already existing legal rights of our candidates before INEC.”
Reacting to Omotosho’s ruling on interference in another party’s internal affairs, the party said that parties had the exclusive right of tackling their private issues.
“As the laws remain today, the issue of nomination of candidates of a political party remains the exclusive right and preserve of that political party, and any dispute arising thereto also remains within that political party and its aggrieved members.
“Under the Electoral Act 2010, a third party (PDP) can only challenge the nomination of the APC candidates as prescribed in Section 31(5) & (6), or challenge the return of APC candidates in accordance with Section 138(1) of the Electoral Act.
“Nothing more imaginary can fit into the contemplation of the Nigerian electoral laws.
“We therefore call on all members of the APC in Rivers State to remain calm, focused, undaunted and go about their electioneering business with equanimity. We believe that at the end, victory will be served,’’ it said.