ALGON faults appeal court’s decision to hear disputed 2015 polls in Rivers
About 23 local council chairmen in Rivers State have faulted the court of appeal’s decision to hear the disputed 2015 council poll in the state.
The chairmen on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who were sacked by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, filed the appeal.
According to them, democracy would be under threat, if the appeal they filed against the state government was scuttled.
But, the chairmen, under the aegis of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), said the new appeal could not be heard because the matter was still pending before the Supreme Court.
A statement by ALGON’s spokesperson and chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Council Area, Osi Olisa, said it was disturbing for the appellate court to commence hearing on a pending matter.
Olisa alleged that some of the parties to the dispute had not been served with the processes, despite the pending motions. According to him, the APC members had boasted that they would use the appeal court to take over local councils in the state.
“We also received information that a special panel had been constituted by the President of the Court of Appeal to hear the matter. The latest information is that the panel’s only task is to deliver a judgment in favour of the APC against all odds,” he said.
The embattled chairmen had filed the appeal in June 2015 to challenge their removal from office by a Federal High Court, based on a suit brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, challenging the legality of the polls.
The statement reads: “In spite of the ongoing appeal before the Supreme Court, another proceeding on the same subject has been commenced by members of the All Progressives Congress at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt. The aim of which is to force a fait accompli on the appeal at the Supreme Court.
“The attention of the Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt division has been drawn to the proceedings before the Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeal is poised to proceed without regard to the Supreme Court, rather than following the laid down principles in a long line of judicial proceedings.
“The process preludes the Court of Appeal from proceeding with a matter when an appeal touching on the case has been entered in the Supreme Court.”
The disputed council chairmen were elected few days before the immediate past administration vacated office.
ALGON explained that the posture of the appeal court is of great concern because of recent unpleasant judicial experiences.
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