*Nullifies party’s direct, indirect primaries in Rivers
By Godwin Anene
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising any candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 general elections.
The court ruled that APC cannot field or participate in the governorship, senate, House of Representatives and the House of Assembly elections beginning from next month.
The Presiding judge, Justice Kolawole Omotosho, who made the ruling on Monday, also nullified all nominations of the APC in Rivers State for the forthcoming polls.
The ruling was in line with the suit filed by Senator Magnus Abe and others versus Rivers APC and others, declaring that the ruling was APC’s failure to respect the law must bear the consequences of her disobedience of the law.
Justice Omotosho stated that the direct and indirect primaries of the Rivers State APC are illegal, null and void.
The court further declared that both the direct and indirect primaries were held during the pendency of the suit at the Rivers State High Court.
According to the court, the APC conducted the indirect primaries in gross disrespect of the pending suit before Justice Chinwendu Nwogu of the Rivers State High Court.
He noted that the judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu nullifying the primaries of the APC in Rivers State is yet to be set aside by an appellate court, hence it remains valid.
The court, therefore held that the names sent by the Amaechi faction and the National Working Committee of the APC to INEC for the 2019 General elections were illegal and should be disregarded .
He posited that the Direct primaries conducted by the Senator Magnus Abe faction were illegal because the National Working Committee of APC did not monitor or participate in the processes.
Justice Omotosho added that Justice Chinwendu Nwogu was clear when he nullified all primaries and congresses held during the pendancy of the suit, which included the Direct primaries conducted by the Abe faction.
He said that both the Senator Magnus Abe and the Amaechi factions have no leg to stand in view of the judgment, hence both factions are disqualified from participating in the elections.
The court held that the APC in Rivers State has no power to nominate and sponsor any candidates for the 2019 General elections.
Justice Omotosho condemned the invasion of the Rivers State High Court during the hearing of the suit, saying that actions must be taken to check the excesses of persons interested in destroying the rule of law.