Appeal Court halts execution of Rivers APC candidates’ disqualification
The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt has issued a stay of execution of a High Court order restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from accepting the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 general elections in Rivers State.
The ruling followed the appeal against the January 7, 2019 order of Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court by the parties in the matter
The state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had filed a suit at the Federal High Court seeking an order to compel INEC to obey the judgment of a State High Court, which nullified the congresses and primaries of the APC in Rivers.
The court waved the jurisdiction issue raised to puncture the petition by Abe and others and brought before it by their counsel, Mr. Henry Bello.
It declared that it was not in the place of the appellate court to determine whether the primaries in contention had been completed when INEC, which is a party in the matter, did not file a counter-affidavit on the application served it.
The court considered the affidavit and responses of the contending parties and based on their peculiarity, granted the stay of execution order.
It held: “It will be unjust to repeal the application for stay of execution of the Federal High Court judgment of January 7, 2019.”
It will, however, today hear the substantive matter filed by Cole and Abe.
While Abe and others want to be declared as the authentic candidates of the APC, Cole and others are urging the electoral umpire to include their names for the polls.
Immediately the pronouncement was made, scores of the party’s supporters and faithful erupted in joy
Counsel to Cole and others, Mr. Chimenem Jerome, told reporters that the party and its candidates were free to participate in the elections and as such, could go on with their campaigns.
But Mr. Patrick Luke, who represented Abe and others as counsel, disagreed with the ruling.
His words: “Legally speaking, you cannot order for a stay of execution on a completed act. The art they sort to stay is for INEC to remove the name of the candidate of APC from their list. That act has already been completed.
“For the records, on January 17, 2019, INEC published a list of candidates of political parties for the 2019 general elections in Rivers State. The names of the candidates of APC were conspicuously omitted because they were obeying the judgment of a Federal High Court.”
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