Rivers APC disowns Umah Ibrahim, 22 others as party members
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has said that Umah Ibrahim and 22 others who filed a suit against its planned congresses are not members of the party.
The party, which ought to have commenced its congresses in the state yesterday, has described the exercise as domestic and internal affairs of the party, hence not justiciable in the law court.
In an affidavit in support of a motion of notice filed by the APC and endorsed by Ubagha Abel Dike, an administrative officer at its national secretariat, the party asked the court, presided over by Justice A. L. Nyoredee, to strike out the originating summons filed by Ibrahim and 22 others for failure to disclose a cause of action or any reasonable cause action in the suit they had filed.
Justice Nyoredee had last Friday granted an injunction restraining the APC from conducting its planned congresses in Rivers State pending the determination of the suit filed by the claimants.
The claimants had approached the court to demand that the APC should demand that they pay for nomination forms to participate in the congresses in view of the Rivers State High Court judgment delivered in suit No. BHC/78/2018: lbrahim Umah & 22 others that nullified the APC congresses in 2018, because they were deprived from participating in the congresses after due payment for nomination forms.
But the APC, represented by Chimenim Jerome, told the court that based on its constitution, the claimants lack the capacity to institute and maintain the suit because they are not fully registered and are not financially up-to-date members of the party based on its financial records of the 319 wards in Rivers state.
“The claimants/respondents are neither members of specific, known or identified wards of the defendant/applicant in Rivers State nor are they fully registered and up-to-date financial members of the defendant/applicant from different 319 wards of Rivers Sate delineated by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),” the party said.
The party insisted that it was in the interest of justice to strike out the suit because its congresses that were held in 2018 in which the claimants had made reference to have become spent as the Rivers State High Court had nullified it. And same judgment was upheld by both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court respectively.
The APC said that the congresses it had proposed to start yesterday were not related to the 2018 ward congresses or congresses, which were concluded but were nullified by the court.
“The nomination forms and payment of fees made for the concluded 2018 congresses that were nullified by the judgment of the High Court of Rivers State were only for the May 2018 ward congresses. They have become spent having been nullified by the judgment of the High Court and cannot be used for the current exercise of 2019,” the party said.
It stressed that the judgment of the High Court of Rivers State in suit No. BHC/78/2018 does not bar it from conducting fresh ward congresses.
After listening to counsel of both the claimants and the defendant, Justice A.L Nyoredee, said he would refer the matter to the Rivers State Chief Justice since tenure of the vacation court, which he presided over, expired yesterday.
He, therefore, urged both parties to await further directives from the Chief Judge of the state who have to re-assign the matter when the court resumes from vacation today.