…Ameachi rejects verdict, heads to Appeal Court
Justice Chinwendu Nworgu of the Port Harcourt High Court sitting in Rivers State has nullified the Congresses and primary election that brought the nomination of Arch. Dele Cole as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress and the Flag Amachree-led EXCO of the party.
The Judge also nullified the Rivers State APC Senatorial, House of Representatives, and House of Assembly Primaries conducted on the premise that the ward congresses were illegal and unconstitutional.
The High Court further nullified all the elections of Rivers APC Ward Executives, Local Government Executives, and State Executive Committee that arose from the ward congresses.
Delivering judgement in the suit instituted by Ibrahim Imah and twenty-two others against the APC, justice Nworgu held that the ward congresses of Rivers APC were illegal hence they were not conducted in line with the APC Guidelines and Constitution.
Justice Nworgu 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, stating that all actions taken by the APC during the pendency of the suit have been set aside because they were illegal and unconstitutional.
“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,” the judge ruled.
Justice Nwogu who based his judgement 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 Nworgu said that it was trite law that facts not disputed were deemed admitted.
On the suit filed in an Abuja High Court by a faction of the APC, Justice Nworgu declared that the court was of coordinate jurisdiction with the High Court in Port Harcourt and could not 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.
Meanwhile, the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi led faction of the APC has rejected the judgement by a Port Harcourt High Court on Monday which nullified the Congresses and primaries conducted by the party in May, this year.
In a statement issued Wednesday by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Finebone, immediately after the court judgement, the party urged its supporters not to lose sleep as appeal and stay of execution on the matter had already been entered.
The statement read in part: “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 finalising the paperwork to file an appeal on today’s judgment and stay of execution. There is absolutely no cause for alarm,” the statement revealed.
The Rivers APC said it was important to emphasise that the entire 319 Wards and 23 LGAs EXCOs of the Party were, 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 yesterday.
The statement continued: “The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, is not surprised that a High Court of Rivers State presided over by Justice Chiwendu Worgu today, much to our expectation, said it has set aside ward, local government and state congresses of the APC held in May, 2018.
“We state that today’s (Wednesday) 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.
“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,” the party alleged.
“We further note that the grand rally staged today by Senator Magnus Abe was carefully planned and scheduled by both the Senator and Gov. 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 further alleged.