There were discordant tunes on Monday over the decision of the Appeal Court to stay execution of the Federal High Court which barred the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from recognizing candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the 2019 general election.
APC governorship candidate and other candidates of the party in the state had challenged the ruling of Justice Kolawale Omotosho which stopped them from participating in the February 16th and March 3rd Elections.
The three-man panel led by Justice Mohammed Mustapha ruled that APC should go ahead with their election campaigns while mandating INEC not to act on the order of the federal high court.
Speaking to our reporter, Counsel to APC governorship candidates and all APC candidates, Chimenim Jerome, said all the parties to the suit number FCPH/114/2018 were satisfied with the judgment.
He said further that the ruling has given APC freedom to participate in the election, go about their campaigns and everything lawful to ensure they are on the ballot, adding that INEC will ensure their names are brought back to the list.
Also speaking, Patrick Luke counsel to the Magnus Abe-led faction of the APC argued that a stay of execution cannot be granted on a matter that was already completed, stressing that INEC did not file any process to refute that they did not publish their names.
He said there is no restraining order by the court to INEC to put back the names of APC candidates that have been removed.
But while reacting to the ruling of the appellate court, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike said: “Today, it will be difficult for any judge to stand firm and give judgment against the interest of the Federal Government. They use propaganda to mislead the public on the activities of the judges”
Senator Magnus Abe in a statement on Tuesday said that the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt on Monday did not order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to restore names of candidates for the 2019 Governorship, State House of Assembly and National Assembly elections.
He said that it has always been of his view that what is required in APC Rivers is a dispassionate review of the issues in contention so that a clear and definite decision can be made on those to fly the flag of the party in the forthcoming elections.
He said: “the facts are simple and sacred. A faction of the party led by the Minister of Transportation and the DG of the Presidential Campaign conducted congresses and indirect primaries in clear and open violation of the orders of a court of competent jurisdiction. This was done in the full glare of the entire country”.
According to Abe, the issue was taken up to the Supreme Court, and the court in its wisdom held that having disobeyed the court so openly they were not entitled to any relief from the courts. “This position was clearly set out in Ibrahim Umar & Ors Vs. APC as reported in Part 1650, 18. Nigerian weekly law reports at page 139”, he maintained.
A chieftain of the party who spoke to theportcitynews on Tuesday, said INEC will include APC’s logo on the ballot but that the party will then determine whose names will appear as candidates.
According to him, it is parties that win elections and not the candidates, adding that the battle on the ground is who will become the party’s candidate.