2019 Election: S/Court dismisses APC, Tonye Cole’s appeal over Rivers

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its factional governorship candidate in Rivers State have both lost their appeals praying the supreme court to make them participate in the 2019 general election.

The apex court dismissed the separate appeals filed by APC and Tonye Cole on the ground that the Notices of Appeal that brought the appeal, were incompetent in law.

In the Notices of Appeal, the two appellants had asked the Court of Appeal to make them participants in the 2019 general election in Rivers State.

The APC, in a Notice of Appeal, argued by its counsel, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), had urged the apex court to depart from its previous decision that held that the APC cannot field candidates in the just concluded general election on grounds that its appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division was academic having been filed out of time.

He also urged the Supreme Court to invoke section 22 of its rule and set aside the Judgment of the Rivers State High Court which barred the APC from participating in the general election on grounds that it did not conduct a valid primary election.

However, counsel to the 1st respondent the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), however in a Notice of Preliminary Objection urged the apex court to strike out the appeal or dismiss it in its entirety for lacking in merit.

Ukala, while insisting that the appellant does not have any valid appeal before the apex court urged the Supreme Court to uphold its preliminary objection and dismiss the appeal for lacking merit.

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The senior counsel, who sited several authorities, submitted that the APC had not asked for anything from the Supreme Court and therefore, the Notice of Appeal was incompetent in law and asked that it should be struck out and be dismissed.

In the ruling of the Supreme Court, delivered yesterday by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, the apex court agreed that the Notice of Appeal by APC was incurably defective and grossly incompetent.

Justice Muhammad therefore upheld the preliminary objection raised by the PDP and consequently struck out the Notice of Appeal and dismissed same for being incompetent.

In the second appeal filed by Tonye Cole through Tuduru Eteh, the Notice of Appeal was wrongly addressed to the Court of Appeal in the reliefs being sought that the Supreme Court should officially declare him (Tonye Cole) as the APC’s governorship candidate for the 2019 in Rivers State.

This promptly made the counsel to withdraw the incompetent Notice of Appeal and it was subsequently struck out by the court in its ruling delivered by the acting CJN.

In the 3rd appeal between APC and Senator Magnus Abe, the court also struck out the Notice of Appeal on the same grounds that it was incompetent having been addressed to the Court of Appeal instead of the Supreme Court.

With the latest decisions of the Supreme Court, all court actions concerning Rivers state APC in relation to 2019 general election have been laid to rest.

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