BEVERLY HILLS, October 11, (THEWILL) – A Port Harcourt court has voided the election of officers and candidates of the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but the party said it had appealed the judgment and requested a stay of execution.
The ruling is a culmination of the crisis in the state between Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Senator Magnus Abe over the leadership of the party.
The Ameachi group, with the endorsement of the National Secretariat, picked Tonye Cole as its gubernatorial candidate and is recognised by the national secretariat but Abe ran a parallel congress which picked him as the governorship candidate.
Justice Chiwendu Nworgu sacked the Rivers APC Chairman Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, and nullified the party’s ward, local government and state congresses of May 19, 20 and 21, but the Amaechi group insisted that the APC officials remained duly elected.
Justice Nwogu said all actions taken by the APC during the pedency of the suit had been set aside because “they are illegal and unconstitutional” adding that all those who purchased nomination forms for the ward congresses were entitled to contest the ward congresses of May 19, but were unjustly excluded by the party.
He said: “The Rule by might must be checked by the rule of law. We must restore the hope of the common man in the justice system”.
Justice Nwogu, who based his judgment on the Amaechi versus INEC Matter of 2007, noted that having studied the submissions in the matter, he was bound to make consequential orders to ensure that justice was done in the case.
However, Rivers APC, through its Publicity Secretary Chief Chris Finebone, at a news conference revealed that the judgment had been appealed, with stay of execution already entered.
The APC also noted the support inside the Rivers High Court, Port Harcourt by Governor Nyesom Wike’s aides “in full collaboration with Abe.”
Rivers APC also urged members and sympathisers of the party in the state and across Nigeria to remain calm.
It noted that despite the fact that aspects of the matter were already before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the lower court in Port Harcourt still went ahead to decide on the matter being challenged at higher courts.
The party also urged members and supporters of the party not to lose sleep over the matter, while asking Wike, Abe and their supporters to continue to fool, delude and ridicule themselves.