Breaking: Supreme Court reserves judgement on Rivers APC appeals

The Supreme Court will tomorrow deliver judgment in the appeal filed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) challenging the judgment delivered by a Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt which set aside the two primaries conducted by two factions of the party in Rivers state for the 2019 general election.

One of the factions is headed by the minister of transportation Rotimi Amaechi and the other headed by a serving senator Magnus Abe.

Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour fixed the date for the judgment after taking arguments from counsel for appellant, APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and counsel for the respondents, Henry Bello.

In his submissions, Fagbemi urged the Supreme Court to nullify the judgment of the federal high court in Port-Harcourt on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction when it entertained the suit.

He also claimed that since the trial court had no jurisdiction its judgment in the matter amounted to a nullity and should be set aside.

Fagbemi specifically asked the apex Court to invoke section 22 of the Supreme Court act and give final judgment in the matter to end the multiple cases arising from the rivers state APC primary election.

However, in his own argument, counsel for the respondent, Henry Bello urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal of the APC on the ground that it has become academic in nature.

He submitted that by the decision of the apex court on February 8, 2019, which upheld the decision of the high court in Port-Harcourt and barred APC from conducting the primary election, the case of APC had died and should be buried.

Bello told the court that the respondent, led by Ibrahim Umar who were aggrieved by the violation of the Electoral Act and the 1999 constitution in the manner the APC conducted the primary election in Rivers, had secured a consent judgment at the high court and that the judgment still stands.

He urged the apex court to hold that the instant appeal has become an academic exercise.

Justice Bode Rhodes Vivor who presided over the matter, however, announced that judgment will be delivered tomorrow while reasons for the judgment will be given later.

He also frowned at the multiple appeals filed by both factions of the APC in Rivers on a single issue.

He said the multiple appeals were not only time wasting they were capable of confusing the court.

In another appeal, the court struck out an appeal filed by Senator Magnus Abe against the stay of execution of the judgment of the federal high court, which nullified the nomination of Tonye Cole and others as candidates the APC in Rivers State in the general election.

The court upheld the argument by lawyer to the APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN).

Fagbemi had argued that the records of proceedings at the lower court, filed by Senator Abe did not follow the rules of the Appeal Court to certify the said documents.

Ruling Justice Rhodes-Vivour noted that only a few of pages of the records of appeal were signed.

He said since most of the pages were not signed, it could be interpreted that they were Senator Abe’s personal documents.

Justice Rhodes-Vivour ordered parties to the appeal back to the Court of Appeal for the determination of the substantive appeal.

Abe had appealed an interlocutory decision of the Court of Appeal, which stayed the execution of the judgment of the High Court which nullified the primaries of the APC in Rivers State

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