Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court yesterday shifted hearing in four appeals bordering on the intra party crisis rocking the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the outcome of its primary election for nomination of candidates for the 2019 general election to April 8 and 11 respectively.
Proceeding on the multiple appeals was stalled yesterday following the absence of counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the need for parties to regularise their processes in the suit.
The apex court had last Monday adjourned till April 4 to hear all pending appeals relating to the Rivers State APC primary. Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, fixed the date for hearing on all the various appeals after addressing some preliminary issues on the appeals.
The appeals are SC/ 1972019 filed by Magnus Abe and some others, with APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) listed among the respondents filed by the APC, with the PDP listed among respondents. SC266, filed by the APC, with Magnus Abe and others as respondents, and SC/267/2019 filed by Tonye Patrick Cole, with Magnus Abe and 48 others as respondents.
However, when the matter was called yesterday, Abe’s counsel, Henry Bello, informed the apex court of his motion seeking to amend his appeal. The matter was, however, stalled as a result of the absence of counsel to INEC, which is the first respondent.
Although, Bello applied to the apex court to stand down the matter for few hours to enable the counsel, who was said to be airborne, arrive and join them in the hearing, the seven-man panel led by acting CJN, however, ruled that the apex court does not stand down matters for anybody or group.
Subsequently, the matter was adjourned till Monday April 8 for hearing. Hearing in the other suits filed by Tonye cole, a factional governorship candidate of the APC and the APC were, however, adjourned till April 11 to enable parties file and exchange necessary processes.
Muhammad, in addition, abridged time for the parties to file and exchange the brief of argument since the cases being pre-election matters were time bound.
However, in a fourth appeal by the APC seeking a consolidation of all existing appeals relating to the primary elections, the court adjourned the matter indefinitely for parties to regularise their processes.