Magnus Abe, Wike Supporters In Celebration Mood
Rivers APC also has no Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly candidates —-Port Harcourt High Court
We in Rivers APC not surprised With Port Harcourt Court judgment —Spokesman
… Confirms Collaboration Between Senator Abe, Wike —Rivers APC
Rivers All Progressives Congress, APC, thrown into confusion as A High Court in Port Harcourt on Wednesday nullified the nomination of Mr Tonye Cole as the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State on the ground that his nomination is a function of illegality and unconstitutional acts.
The Court also nullified the Rivers State APC Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly Primaries conducted on the premise of the illegal ward congresses.
The High Court further nullified all the elections of Rivers APC Ward Executives, Local Government Executives and State Executive Committee that arose from the illegal ward congresses.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Chiwendu Nwogu on Wednesday, September 10, in a suit filed by Ibrahim Imah and twenty-two others against the APC, the Court declared that the ward congresses of Rivers APC were illegal because they were not conducted in line with the APC Guidelines and Constitution.
Justice Nwogu set aside the ward congresses of Rivers APC on May 19, 2018, Local Government Congresses of May 19, 2018 and State Congress of the party of May 21, 2018. He stated that all actions taken by the APC during the pendency of the suit have been set aside because they are illegal and unconstitutional.
Justice Nwogu declared that all those who purchased nomination forms for the ward congresses were entitled to contest the ward congresses of May 19, 2018, but were unjustly excluded by the party.
He said: “The Rule by might must be checked by the rule of law. We must restore the hope of the common man in the justice system”. Justice Nwogu who based his judgment on the Amaechi versus INEC Matter of 2007, noted that having studied the submissions in the matter, he was bound to make consequential orders to ensure that justice was done in the case. He stated that the High Court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter as an Appeal filed by the respondents at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt to stop proceedings on the suit was rejected by the Appellate Court on September 21, 2018.
He stated that all through the hearing, the APC filed no counter-affidavit denying the facts of the matter as presented by the applicants in the originating summons.
Justice Nwogu said that it is trite law that facts not disputed are deemed admitted. On the suit filed in an Abuja High Court by a faction of the APC , Justice Nwogu declared that the court is of coordinate jurisdiction with the High Court in Port Harcourt and cannot sit in appeal over it. He added that the suit filed by Ibrahim Imah, preceded that of the Abuja High Court by a faction of the Rivers State APC.
Earlier before the delivery of the judgment, a counsel to the APC, Prince OSM Azunda moved a motion seeking to stop the delivery of the judgment.
However, Justice Nwogu dismissed his application which he termed as a ploy to arrest the judgment. Following the judgment, the APC no longer has a candidate for the governorship, Senate, House of Representatives, House of Assembly Elections in the forthcoming 2019 General Elections. The APC also has no State Working Committee, Local Government Working Committees and Ward Executives.
The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has said that it is not surprised that a High Court of Rivers State presided over by Justice Chiwendu Worgu yesterday, and much to its expectation, it has set aside ward, local government and state congresses of the APC held in May, 2018.
We state that today’s ruling did not come to us, as a party, by surprise. However, it brings to an end the collaboration between Senator Magnus Abe and Governor Nyesom Wike to destabilise the APC in Rivers State.
In swift response from Rivers APC endorsed by its Publicity Secretary of the Chris Finebone, said “We recall the many overt and covert partnerships between Governor Wike and Senator Magnus Abe using the Rivers State Judiciary on this matter to scuttle the electoral fortunes of the APC in 2019. Today’s ruling is a culmination of such an evil collaboration.
“We further note that the grand rally staged today by Senator Magnus Abe was carefully planned and scheduled by both the Senator and Governor Nyesom Wike to coincide with the Rivers State High Court judgment details of which they were already privy to. It was therefore not surprising when Senator Abe gleefully announced the exact ruling of the court on the rally rostrum just about when the judge was still reading his judgment in court.
The party also said: “We wish to inform APC members and sympathisers of our great party in Rivers State and across Nigeria to remain calm as we are well prepared in anticipation of today’s ruling and have therefore done the needful. Despite aspects of the matter which are already before the Court of Appeal and the Nigerian Supreme Court, the lower court went ahead to decide on a matter that is being challenged at higher courts of the land. Indeed, our legal team is already finalizing the paperwork to file an appeal on today’s judgment and stay of execution. There is absolutely no cause for alarm.
APC recalls that nothing will happen to the Ojukaye-led State Executive Committee (EXCO) of the Party as it is further protected against any action from above by the Perpetual Injunction granted by Abuja High Court 14 presided over by His Lordship, Hon. Justice A. O. Musa on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 in which it granted an Order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National Chairman, His Excellency (Comrade) Adams Oshiomhole (1st and 2nd Defendants) from ‘tampering with the mandates of the elected Officials/Delegates elected at the 1st Defendant’s Ward, Local Government and State Congresses in Rivers State on May 19, 20 and 21, 2018 respectively, either by nullifying, removing or in any way refusing to give effect to the outcome of the said congresses or by purporting to conduct another congress in respect of Rivers State.”
According to the Rivers APC, emphasised that the entire 319 Wards and 23 LGAs EXCOs of the Party are, by implication, protected against the ruling by any court of coordinate jurisdiction with the Abuja High Court that granted the Ojukaye-led State Exco a Perpetual Injunction before today. We urge everyone to go about their duties without let.
“Again, it must be mentioned that if the entire collaboration between Senator Abe and Governor Wike on this matter is to nullify actions the party has taken recently relating to its mandate by seeking to invalidate the Ojukaye-led EXCO, such an exercise has failed. For example, the primaries so far conducted in Rivers State were done by the national executives or national leadership of the APC and not essentially by the Ojukaye-led EXCO in Rivers State and seeking to invalidate the Ojukaye-led EXCO cannot in anyway invalidate the primaries.
“We are urging our supporters not to lose sleep as appeal have been entered and stay of execution on the matter have been entered. We commend the Special Adviser to Gov. Wike on Electronic Media, Mr. Simeon Nwankaudu for his efforts at the court today in furtherance of the collaboration between Senator Magnus Abe and the Rivers State Government. We also commend the judge for the “industry” put into the PROCESS”.