- The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state says it is rejecting the judgement of a Federal High Court barring it from presenting candidates
- The APC in the state says it has given its lawyers instruction to appeal the ruling of the court
- The party also explains why it is rejecting the ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the ruling of a Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers, barring the party from presenting candidates in any of the positions being vied for in the 2019 election in the state.
The state chapter of the party also declared that it would appeal the judgement of the court disclosing that it had given instructions to its lawyers in relation to its decision.
In a lengthy reaction sent to Legit.ng after the Federal High Court barred INEC from recognizing candidates of the APC in the state, the party, through Chris Finebone, its spokesperson, explained reasons why it rejected the ruling.
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Read the full statement below:
We have just received excerpts of the judgements delivered by Hon. Justice Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt in two separate suits. One was filed by Senator Magnus Abe and 49 others seeking the court to declare them candidates of the APC in 2019 general election in Rivers state, and another filed by the PDP seeking the court to declare that the APC has no candidates for the election. We strongly feel that the trial court missed the mark in some of its decisions.
In The Case Of Sen Magnus Abe and 48 Others
1. Firstly, we totally agree with the court that Senator Magnus Abe and the 48 other members of the party who claimed to have emerged through an alleged direct primary election were not and therefore could not be declared candidates of the APC in the 2019 general election in Rivers state. This was because the national body of the APC never authorized or conducted the alleged direct primary as required by its constitution and guidelines neither did INEC monitor same.
2. However, we do not agree with the court that the Davies Ibiamu Ikanya and Peter Odike-led executive committee of the party in Rivers state was still subsisting. The APC has the powers to dissolve its executive committee and that power was exercised on 21st of May, 2018. The APC having dissolved that exco, it ceased to exist and could not be resurrected, even if the court finds, albeit wrongly, that there was no valid congress to replace the dissolved exco
3. We know, as it is the law in Nigeria today, that APC as a political party has the absolute powers to schedule, reschedule or even cancel any of its congresses. The party effectively terminated the ward, LGA and state congresses of 5th, 12th and 19th May 2018 respectively. The APC primary election based on the unchallenged results and outcome of subsequent APC congresses were lawful and valid.
ON THE PDP VS APC CASE
1. The PDP brought a suit seeking the court to declare that the candidates of the APC were not validly nominated. The trial court agreed with that position and made order in that regard. With all due respect to the court, we totally disagree with its reasoning.
2. 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.
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3. The PDP’s case did not satisfy any of these conditions or circumstances.
It is on this note that we strongly believe that APC will get victory in the superior court. We have accordingly instructed our lawyers to review the case and file the appeals immediately, in order not to temper or jeopardize with the already existing legal rights of our candidates before INEC.
We therefore call on all members of the APC in Rivers state to remain calm, focussed, undaunted and go about their electioneering business with equanimity. We believe that at the end victory will be served.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that the national headquarters of the APC said it was still studying the judgement of the Federal High Court barring it from presenting any candidate in the state.
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