A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has disqualified 16 House of Assembly candidates of the All Progressive Congress from contesting the 2023 elections for non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The trial judge, Justice Mohammed Turaki Adamu, gave the ruling on Friday, following a suit instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party for non-monitoring of the APC legislative primary by the Independent National Electoral Commission in Suit Number FHC/PH/CS/152/2022.
The councils and constituencies affected are: Obio/Akpor 1 and 2, Andoni, Okrika, Ahoada west, Khana1and 2, PH 1, 2 and 3, Etche 1and 2 Oyigbo, Gokana, Tai and Eleme.
In a swift reaction, spokesman, 2023 Elections Campaign Council of the Rivers APC, Sogbeye Eli, expressed surprised at the judgement, but said the party would never break despite being stretched by anti-democratic forces.
He stated that the party would appeal the judgment with a view reversing it and restore the mandate of candidates ahead of the elections, pointing out that the APC would be on the ballot in the state.
The statement reads, “The 2023 Elections Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress received with surprise the news of another judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt this afternoon ordering the disqualification of our candidates for the Rivers State House of Assembly in 16 State Constituencies for the March 11, 2022 general elections.
“In the circumstance, the Campaign Council is compelled yet again to urge party faithful and millions of Rivers people supporting our candidates in the affected state constituencies not to despair or be agitated as we proceed on appeal to reverse the judgment and restore our candidates ahead of the elections.
“The enemies of democracy in our State who are afraid to meet us at the polls are out to break our spirit and force a fait accompli on the Rivers electorate who are backing our candidates.
“But they have failed. We will contest the coming elections at all levels and win after setting aside this judgment as the Constitution allows the All Progressives Congress.”