The Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Andrew Uchendu, has explained that despite all the setbacks, the All Progressives Congress, APC, will still field candidates in Rivers State in the next general election.
He said that the APC still has the right to field candidates in spite of last Friday’s ruling by the Supreme Court.
Uchendu expressed the confidence when he spoke with Journalists on Sunday.
He said this was because what the Supreme Court ruled upon was the issue of jurisdiction.
Senator Uchendu pointed out that going by the rulings of the apex court in other cases, the court’s generally do not have any jurisdiction on the internal affairs or disputes within a political party.
He said, “The Supreme Court did not say our candidates for the forthcoming elections cannot participate in the elections.
“What I am saying is that the import of the Supreme Court judgement was on the issue of legal representation. Who is the legally appointed counsel of the APC in Rivers State at the trial court level?
“The Supreme Court said it is the counsel that was briefed by the APC lawyer.
“That was the matter that was settled on Friday and it has nothing to do with whether there is a faction in APC Rivers or not and whether we should take part in the election or not.
“One issue I want to clear is that it is not that Tonye Cole is the only person that affected by what is goibg on. Nigerians dont know that all the National Assembly, Gubernatorial and State House if Assembly candidates; about 49 of us are affected.
“So it’s a whole state . All the candidates of APC in Rivers State are affected and not just the gubernatorial candidates. We are all involved in the case and we are very hopeful that we will triumph at the end of the day.
“We see the issue in court as dispute within the party. Ordinarily, we expected that the trial court should have upheld our case that it had no jurisdiction but it went ahead and heard the matter. The Court of Appeal upheld that and we are now at the Supreme Court.
“I am very, very hopeful, the court being the last hope of the common man and particularly when the courts have severally said that courts have no jurisdiction on the internal disputes of political parties.”
He added, “If we have our elected executives at the Ward, Local Government and State levels, that is the party structure.
“Fractionalization has to do with a cleavage in the structure. The rest of the people can come in and go any time. Now, after building the party and putting the structure in place, if the Deputy Chairman or Secretary feels aggrieved and takes control of a part of the party, then the party is fictionalise.
“But in our own case, the whole structure is complete from head to toe. Where is the cleavage?
“Where is the crisis ? The party’s executive committee is intact.”