Court nullifies APC primaries in Rivers

Court nullifies APC primaries in Rivers

The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has nullified all the primary elections conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.

In its ruling on Tuesday, the court held that the exclusion of some members of the party as delegates to the primaries invalidates the whole exercise.

Justice Emmanuel Obile gave the ruling following a suit by one George Orlu and four others requesting that the APC primaries in the state be nullified following their alleged exclusion in the process after they had purchased nomination forms.

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Justice Obile in his ruling agreed with the plaintiffs that their exclusion from the APC primaries in Rivers State was unlawful.

The judge directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to derecognise all APC candidates in Rivers State.

APC Reacts

In the meantime, the APC in Rivers State has described the judgement as a mockery of justice, saying the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter as political parties are by law, empowered to regulate their own internal affairs.

The party in a statement by its spokesman in Rivers State Darlington Nwauju noted that the Supreme Court had decided on a plethora of cases suggesting that political parties are their own CEOs and can regulate their own internal affairs.

Nwauju alluded to the March 5, 2021 judgement delivered by Justice Adamu Augie in Dele Moses & Others, saying the court held that the courts cannot protect the rights and privileges of members of a political party because a party is like a voluntary club.

He added that the plaintiffs in the matter are meddlesome interlopers in APC internal affairs and expressed optimism that the appellate courts will treat the matter dispassionately and deliver justice because according to it.

According to the APC spokesman, the suit is not an action challenging the party’s primaries in Rivers State but, an attempt at challenging its delegates congresses by persons whose particulars it noted are not found in the party’s official membership register.

He warned that the attempt to repeat the 2019 episode in Rivers State is already dead-on-arrival.

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