News Beyond Boundaries

Supreme Court decides Rivers APC fate today

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By Bukola Olasanmi

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday deliver judgement on the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress against the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt barring the party from presenting candidates in Rivers State for the general elections.

The appeal was filed against the judgment in a suit filed by one Ibrahim Umar and 21 others challenging the primary election that produced Tonye Cole as the governorship candidate of the APC.

The group loyal to Senator Magnus Abbe claimed the primary that produced Cole and others were done in disobedience to an order of court. Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour fixed the date for the judgment after taking arguments from counsel for the APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), and counsel for the respondents, Henry Bello.

While addressing the court, Fagbemi urged the Supreme Court to nullify the judgment of the Federal High Court because the court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the reliefs sought by the respondents.

According to him, the judgement of the court is a nullity since the trial court has no jurisdiction. Specifically, he asked the apex court to invoke Section 22 of its Act and give a final judgment on the substantive matter. But countering the position, Bello urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal of the APC. As according him, it has become academic.

He submitted that by the decision of the apex court of February 8, 2019 upholding the decision of the Federal High Court barring the APC from conducting primary elections, the case had become spent. He argued that section 87(9) of the Electoral Act conferred jurisdiction on the trial court.

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