Court disqualifies 16 Rivers APC House Of Assembly candidates
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has disqualified 16 House of Assembly candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State for non-compliance with the new electoral Act.
The trial judge, Justice Mohammed Turaki Adamu gave the ruling on Friday, following a suit instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for non-monitoring the APC legislative primary by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The councils and constituencies affected are: Obio/Akpor 1&2, Andoni, Okrika, Ahoada west, Khana1&2, PH 1, 2 &3 Etche 1&2 Oyigbo, Gokana, Tai, and Eleme.
Reacting to the ruling, Spokesman, 2023 Elections Campaign Council of the Rivers APC, Sogbeye Eli, said the party would never break despite being stretched by anti-democratic forces.
He urged party faithful and millions of Rivers people supporting candidates in the affected Constituencies not to be despair or agitated as the party proceeds on appeal to reverse the judgement and restore the mandate of candidates ahead of the elections.
He said: “The 2023 Elections Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) received with surprise, the news of another judgement of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt this afternoon, ordering the disqualification of our candidates for the State House of Assembly in 16 Constituencies for the March 11, 2022 general elections.
“Delivering the judgement in the case brought by the PDP v. INEC & 33 Ors (FHC/PH/CS/152/2022), Justice Turaki Mohammed ruled in favour of the Plaintiffs for non-monitoring of the APC legislative primary by the INEC in Andoni, Etche Constituency 1 & 2, Tai, Gokana, Oyigbo, Eleme.”
Port Harcourt Constituency 1, 2 & 3, Khana Constituency 1 & 2, Okrika, Ahoada West and Obio/Akpor Constituency 1 & 2. “With this verdict, only the candidates for Ahoada East 1 & 2, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni 1 & 2, Emohua, Degema, Akuku Toru 1 & 2, Asari Toru 1 & 2, Bonny, Ikwerre, Omuma, Opobo/Nkoro, Abua/Odual and Ogu/Bolo were spared in the judgment.
“In the circumstance, the Campaign Council is compelled yet again to urge party faithful and millions of Rivers people supporting our candidates in the affected State Constituencies not to despair or be agitated as we proceed on appeal to reverse the judgment and restore our candidates ahead of the elections.
“We recall that the same INEC had led evidence to prove that the Commission monitored the APC primary before another Judge of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division in another matter challenging the eligibility of our candidates for the National Assembly (Senate and the House of Representatives).
“The enemies of democracy in our State who are afraid to meet us at the polls are out to break our spirit and force a fait accompli on the Rivers electorate who are backing our candidates but they have failed. We will contest the coming elections at all levels and win after setting aside this judgment as the Constitution allows the APC.”