Elections: APC lawyers write INEC over Rivers primaries

Demands inclusion of candidates

Ahead of Saturday’s conduct of presidential and national assembly elections, lawyers for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Rivers State chapter have written the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) demanding that their clients be allowed to field candidates for elective offices into the National Assembly in Saturday and subsequent polls.

Tribune Online findings revealed that INEC had excluded the party from fielding candidates based on several court pronouncements on the crisis rocking Rivers State chapter of the party.

The Supreme Court had recently in a lead judgment delivered by Justice Sidi Barge upheld the order of a Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, nullifying the All Progressives Congress primaries in Rivers State.

The trial court had held that the primaries were held in disobedience to a court judgment barring the party from conducting congresses, pending the determination of a suit filed by 22 aggrieved members of the party.

Further findings revealed that a judgment of the Court of Appeal had earlier struck out the APC Rivers State chapter appeal and upheld the judgment of Justice Chiwendu Nworgu of the Rivers State High Court, which earlier voided the APC Congreses in the state.

But in a letter written by Messrs Tuduru Ede & Co dated February 19, 2019 and addressed to INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the APC recalled a Court of Appeal judgement of the Port Harcourt Division, delivered on 6 February, 2019 which granted stay of execution of the judgement of Justice Nworgu of the State High court.

It also recalled that a similar judgement of The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division also in another appeal numbered as appeal Number: CA/PH/39/2019 further stayed the execution of the judgment of Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The APC further argued that since the Supreme Court in its judgment was silent on earlier stay of execution granted by the Court of Appeal as INEC was not a party in the suit, the Commission should “without delay publish the names of candidates of APC in Rivas State for the 2019 general election as submitted by theAPC. We have no doubt that the commission as a law abiding institution will accede to this request without delay.”

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The letter read in part: “We are solicitors to the All Progressives Congress (APC) (hereinafter referred to as our client) and on her behalf make this request.

“Recall that All Progressives Congress (APC) duly submitted the list of its candidates for Rivers State for the 2019 general elections in line with the timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission.

“Also recall that the names and particulars of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates were duly published by the commission as required by law.

“We are aware that pursuant to the judgment in suit no: FHC/PH/CS/149/2018 between Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) v. All Progressives Congress (APC) and others, the names of APC candidates for Rivers State were removed from the final list of candidates published by the commission.

“However, the APC aggrieved by the said decision of the Federal High Court on which the decision of the commission to remove the list was anchored, appealed to the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division in appeal number: CA/PH/38/2019 and the Court of Appeal in a considered ruling delivered on 6 February, 2019, has stayed the execution of the said judgment of the Federal High Court. A copy is hereto annexed as annexure A for case of reference.

“The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division also in another appeal numbered as appeal Number: CA/PH/39/2019 further stayed the execution of the judgment of Federal High Court, Port Harcourt. A copy is hereto annexed annexure B. Furthermore, appeal to the Supreme Court in appeal number: SC/118/2019 against the order of stay of execution granted by Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division has been struck out by the Supreme Court. The order of the Supreme Court is annexed as annexure C.

“We are therefore dismayed that despite the ruling of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the names of candidates of APC have not been published by the commission for the purpose of participating in 2019 general election.

“It is imperative to place on record that the judgment of the Rivers State High Court, in suit No. BHC/78/2018 which was fought to the Supreme Court in appeal No: SC/1332/2018, SC 1333/2018, SC 1334/2018 and SC 81/2018 has nothing to do with INEC as it is not party thereto.

“You may also wish to note that in spite of the judgment of River: State High Court, the commission accepted end published the names of candidates of APC in respect of Rivers State and it was the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt that warranted the removal of the names from the final list published by the commission which judgment has now been stayed.

“In view of the foregoing, we call on the commission to without delay publish the names of candidates of APC in Rivas State for the 2019 general election as submitted hytheAPC.We have no doubt that the commission as a law abiding institution will accede to this request without delay.”

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