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Rivers APC won’t field candidates in 2019, court affirms

By Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt
13 December 2018   |   4:25 am
The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt yesterday dismissed all appeals by the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the nullification of its primaries.

Tonye Cole

• Unbiased justice critical to national security, says top judge

The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt yesterday dismissed all appeals by the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the nullification of its primaries.

The governorship candidate, Mr. Tonye Cole, state chairman Ojukaye Flag-Amachree and others had filed the appeals challenging the October 10, 2018 judgment of the state High Court, which nullified the party’s congresses and primaries.The Chairman of the appeal panel, Justice Abubakar Datti Yayaha, asserted that the appeals by Cole and others lacked competence and therefore struck them out. The court also held that being a pre-election matter, the suits were filed out of time and were statute-barred.

An application by Cole and 48 other candidates of the APC that emerged through the indirect primaries was dismissed on the ground that they could not appeal a matter they were not party to, especially when those persons were already in serial contempt of court.

The court also dismissed a similar application filed by Flag-Amachree and others representing party’s executives at all levels that emerged through the congresses conducted in defiance of a valid court order.Yahaya said the appeal against the Justice Chinwendu Nwogu High Court judgment on the party’s congress crisis lacked merit. He said Flag-Amachree and others failed to seek leave of the court before appealing against the judgment.

He further explained that the judgment delivered at the lower court nullifying the congresses and primaries was a consent judgment and to that end, Cole, Flag-Amachree and others should have done the needful legally before approaching the court.

The implication of the appellate court’s verdict is that the judgment delivered by Nwogu still subsists. While delivering judgment in a suit filed by Ibrahim Imah and 22 others against the APC, Nwogu declared that the ward congresses were illegal because they were not conducted in line with APC guidelines and constitution. The judge proceeded to nullify the nomination of Cole as governorship candidate on the ground that his nomination was marred by illegality and unconstitutionality.

In another development, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Ibrahim Muhammad, maintained that justice for all is critical to national peace and security.“The best path to ensure peace, stability and security of the nation is for judges to ensure justice for all, irrespective of status or any other thing. As judges, we must do everything possible to do justice between people. We must do what we are employed to do, if not we have broken our oath,” he said.

Muhammad stated this shortly after opening the 19th Annual Judges’ Conference at the Kongo Campus of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State.On judges that violate the ethics of the profession, he said: “We have several authorities in the judiciary to whom if such a case is reported, they would definitely give orders for investigation. Any judge found guilty of such an offence will be dealt with accordingly. If the gravity of his offence is big enough to warrant a sack, the judiciary will not hesitate to sack or demote him, depending on the level of the offence. Therefore, it is not an excuse for somebody to keep mute while he is cheated in a court of law. If you feel you are cheated and you keep quite, you have cheated yourself.”

ABU vice chancellor, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, described the event as the best place that provides solutions to issues affecting the judicial system, especially in Islamic Sharia. Garba, who was represented by the Director, Institute of Administration, ABU, Prof. Ibrahim Aliyu, also expressed satisfaction that the Islamic Financial System was gradually gaining ground in Nigeria.

He said the establishment and growth of JAIZ Bank has demonstrated the success of Islamic financial system, noting that conventional banks such as Stanbic IBTC and Sterling bank were also operating interest-free banking system.