Members of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State will continue their protracted legal battle on Monday over the crisis which has engulfed the party.
Recall that the Apex Court in its ruling on Friday sacked Tonye Cole and all the indirect primaries’ candidates of the party.
The Apex Court also upheld the judgement of the Court of Appeal which affirmed the judgement of Justice Chinwendu Worgu of the Rivers State High Court.
The High Court had on May 30th 2018, nullified all the congresses conducted by the Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi’s faction which brought the Ojukaye Flag Amachree-led state executive of the party for disobeying its earlier ruling which barred the faction from conducting congresses for the faction’s failure to issue Ibrahim Umar and 22 others forms after they made payments for to contest in the congresses.
The High Court, on October 10 2018, subsequently nullified the indirect primaries conducted by the faction which produced Tonye Cole as gubernatorial candidate citing the faction’s earlier disobedience of the May 30 order.
Recall that an Appeal Court in Port Harcourt on December 12 also dismissed the appeal filed by the Rivers State’s All Progressives Congress’ chairman, Flag Ojukaye, challenging the judgement of High Court’s Justice Chinwendu Nwogu over the conduct of the May ward congresses.
The APC had, through its lawyer, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, begged the Supreme Court to clear legal impediments against its list of candidates that contained Cole’s name, a request the court rejected on Friday.
The apex court panel which was led by Justice Mohammed Dattijo, rather re-affirmed its previous ruling that validated the high court’s order that barred APC from going ahead with the Rivers primaries.
The panel further invoked section 22 of the Supreme Court Act and dismissed the appeal the Ojukaye Flag-Amachree’s led APC, filed before the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, to challenge the high court order.
In the lead judgment that was delivered by Justice Side Bage, the apex court said it was satisfied that the matter which the APC filed before the appellate court deserved “a decent burial.”
It held that the appellate court ought to have terminated further hearing on the appeal marked CA/PH/198/2018, after it was withdrawn by a lawyer that was duly briefed by the Rivers State Legal Adviser of the APC, Chieme Chinweikpe.
“It is my considered opinion that this appeal must be given a decent burial. The appeal, having been withdrawn at the lower court by the respondent, is deemed distilled. This is what the lower court failed or evaded to do.
“Therefore, by virtue of section 22 of the Supreme Court Act 2004, the lower court having failed to exercise its powers provided under Order 11 Rule 5, this court is bound to do so.
“Thus, I will allow the appeal and set aside the ruling of the lower court dated October 31st 2018. I hereby dismiss Appeal No CA/PH/198/2018”, Justice Bage held.
But the party will return to the Apex court today for the court to determine whether the Rivers State High Court has the jurisdiction to meddle into a party’s internal affairs.
The court will also determine whether the suit filed by Ibrahim Umar and 23 others was a pre-election case.
Although lawyers who spoke to Theportcitynews said that the sitting today is a mere window-dressing as the apex court has finished with the issues of the party having given it a decent burial on Friday.
They also said that today’s sitting will not affect the fortunes of the party in any way, adding that the APC is out of the race for good.