TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising any candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 elections in Rivers State.
The court also nullified all nominations of the APC in the state for the forthcoming elections in 2019.
The court ruled specifically that the APC could not participate in the governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly elections during the 2019 polls in the state.
Justice Kolawole Omotosho, in his judgment in the suit filed by Senator Magnus Abe and others against Rivers APC and others, declared that the APC for failing to respect the law, must bear the consequences of its disobedience.
Justice Omotosho stated that the direct and indirect primaries conducted by the Rivers APC, were illegal, null and void.
The court further declared that both the direct and indirect primaries were held during the pendency of the suit at the state High Court.
According to the court, the APC conducted the indirect primaries in gross disrespect of the pending suit before Justice Chinwendu Nwogu of the Rivers State High Court.
He noted that the judgement of Justice Nwogu, nullifying the primaries of the APC in the State, was yet to be set aside by an appellate court. Hence, it remained valid.
The court, therefore, held that the names sent by the Chibuike Amaechi’s faction and the National Working Committee of the APC to INEC for the 2019 elections were illegal and should be disregarded .
He posited that the direct primaries conducted by the Senator Abe’s faction were illegal because the National Working Committee of APC did not monitor or participate in the processes.
Justice Omotosho added that Justice Nwogu was clear when he nullified all primaries and congresses held during the pendency of the suit, which included the direct primaries conducted by the Abe’s faction.
He said that both the Abe and the Amaechi’s factions had no leg to stand in view of the judgement. Hence, both factions were disqualified from participating in the elections.
The court also held that the APC in state had no power to nominate and sponsor any candidates for the 2019 elections.
Justice Omotosho condemned the invasion of the state High Court during the hearing of the suit, saying that actions must be taken to check the excesses of persons interested in destroying the rule of law.