Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt, yesterday, granted stay of execution on the judgment of Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court, which nullified all primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from fielding the party’s candidates in the forthcoming elections.
The Justice Omotosho court had ruled that the APC, following the internal party crisis rocking it, should not field candidates for the election.
The faction of the party loyal to the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, had approached the Appeal Court and prayed for an order to stay the execution of the lower court to allow them participate in the elections
The three-man appeal panel, led by Justice Ali Gumel, which had reserved ruling for yesterday, after hearing the matter last week, held that it would be an act of injustice and unfair, if the order was not granted.
Reading the ruling, Justice Yusuf Mustafa Yusuf stated that the stay of execution must be granted based on the facts that the party seeking it was opposed to the judgment of the Federal High Court.
Mustafa said the court has jurisdiction to hear the matter against the position of the respondent’s counsel, Henry Bello.
On the argument of Bello that the court cannot stay execution on the matter in which action has been completed, Yusuf ruled that it was not in the position of court to declare an event completed, when Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is a party in the matter, has not affirmed such.
He held that the court considered the affidavit and responses of the parties, adding that every case is decided in its peculiarity and, thereby, stayed the execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court.
Regardless, the Rivers State PDP said it is not perturbed or worried in any way over yesterday’s court order because it will not affect the fortunes of the party in the elections.
Director of Information and Communications of the state PDP Campaign Council, Emma Okah, in a statement, yesterday, said: “The accumulated strength and capacity of the PDP in Rivers State is overwhelming and will defeat any political party or coalition that fields any candidate against the PDP in the 2019 polls.”
Okah described the APC in Rivers State as a perforated jumbo jet that cannot lift from the run way.
However, speaking with newsmen, Chimenem Wisdom Jerome, APC candidates counsel, said with the judgment, INEC would bring back APC candidates in the list for the elections.