Supreme Court begins hearing on Rivers APC direct primary suit March 26
The Supreme Court will from March 26 begin hearing of the appeal seeking determination of the authenticity or otherwise of All Progressives Congress (APC) direct primary elections in Rivers State.
A factional leader of the Rivers APC, Senator Magnus Abe, had last year prayed the apex court to make a final pronouncement on the legality of direct and indirect primary elections conducted by APC’s two factions.
When the matter was mentioned yesterday, Abe’s counsel, Henry Bello, moved a motion praying the apex court to among other demands, grant accelerated hearing in the matter, abridge time within which parties are to file their processes and give a definite date for hearing the appeal.
The motion, dated March 1, 2019 was predicated on eight grounds including that the matter being a pre-election suit, must by law, be fully determined within 60 days.
Moving the motion, Bello prayed the five-man panel of the court to grant his client accelerated hearing and order parties to file and exchange their processes within the stipulated time for pre-election matters.
Some of the respondents in the appeal include Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC gubernatorial aspirant in Rivers State, Tonye Cole and 36 others.
But INEC, represented by Mathew Anyim, told the court that the electoral body has chosen to be neutral in the matter.
However, Celestine Agidi, who represented Cole and his team did not object to the motion but pleaded that 24 hours would not be sufficient for him to file his brief of argument.
In her ruling, the presiding justice, Mary Odili, granted the appellant’s prayers and adjourned hearing till March 26.
She also ordered Cole and other respondents to file their brief of argument within three days, while the appellant was granted three days within which to file his response.
Although APC was served with hearing notice, it was not represented in court by either a counsel or any of its staff.
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