Confusion over Rivers, as INEC claims ignorance of Supreme Court ruling
•Yakubu can't feign ignorance ― Cole
A reprieve came the way of the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State on Friday as the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission promised to include it on the ballot in the state.
INEC chairman said the Commission had to jettison its earlier stance to exclude the APC in Zamfara based on the judgement of a Court of Appeal, Abuja which ordered that APC is restored on the ballot in the National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections scheduled for 23rd February and 9th March 2019.
But Professor Yakubu, however, insisted that the party remained excluded in Rivers state citing a judgment of the Supreme Court. Apparently making reference to the judgment of Justice Sidi Barge of the apex court, which upheld the order of a Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, by Justice Chiwendu Nworgu, nullifying the All Progressives Congress primaries in Rivers State, Professor Yakubu insisted that the chances of the APC in Rivers was foreclosed.
Asked by newsmen if he was aware of a ruling of Supreme Court of February 11, 2019 delivered by Justice Olabode Rhodes Vivour, which upheld an order of stay of execution of the Court of Appeal of the judgment of Justice Nworgu of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, the INEC chairman said the ruling has not been brought to his attention.
He said: “I am not aware there is any live order in the case of Rivers that INEC has not obeyed. By yesterday, I was aware there was a Court of Appeal judgment but everybody knows what the judgment is. I don’t know there is any live order that INEC has not obeyed in the case of Rivers.”
But the governorship candidate of the APC in Rivers state, Tonye Cole claimed the INEC chairman feigned ignorance of the ruling of Justice Vivour of the Supreme Court.
Cole who spoke through his Director of Campaign Organization, Tonye Princewill, said the INEC chairman was deliberately ignoring two live orders of the courts on Rivers state.
He said: “I think it’s clear that the INEC Chairman is confused about the facts in Rivers state. I heard the series of questions he answered on the matter today and also at previous press conferences. We are waiting to see the Supreme Court judgement that he says is final.
“The point was made today. What is the difference between Rivers and now Zamfara? Very little, if any. Both states have appeal court judgements that stand down the orders of a lower court. In the case of Rivers State, he keeps making reference to a final Supreme Court judgement but has never once told us what it is. Perhaps he doesn’t realize the difference between a ruling and a judgement. He thinks the Rivers state matter is finished whereas it is not. The Supreme Court sent us back to the appeal to hear the substantive case on the matter. Meanwhile, the same Supreme Court threw out an appeal to the stay of execution Rivers APC were granted. So there are two live orders which the Chairman is not obeying. I can only assume, in the confusion of postponements, he has not yet been briefed by his legal team. To deny millions of people their right to choose must have consequences.”