Rivers State: Appeal Court Grants Stay Of Execution Of Judgement Excluding APC Candidates

Tunde Bakare

The Court of Appeal on Monday in Port Harcourt granted a stay of execution on the judgment of a Federal High Court which nullified the primaries of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers.

Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court had declared APC ineligible to present candidates for the general elections in the state over matters relating to the conduct of its primary elections.

But then the Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Ali Gumel, whose ruling was read by Justice Muhammed Mustapha, said it would amount to injustice to the parties if the court refused to grant the stay of execution order.

The court noted that there was a multiplication of appeals against the judgement of the Federal High Court.

The court said that all the parties in the suit appealed against the judgement in separate suits, while almost all the parties also applied for stay of execution.

 The judgement also noted that INEC as a party in the matter did not file a counter affidavit on the application served it.

 The court said “it will be unjust to repeal the application for stay of execution of the Federal High Court judgement of Jan. 7.’’

 Addressing newsmen after the judgement, the counsel to APC, Mr Chimenem Jerome, holding brief for Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said with the ruling, INEC would bring back APC candidates on the ballot.

“Today, the court delivered a ruling, the landmark one at that, staying the execution of the judgement delivered by Justice Kolawale Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt in suit number FC/PHC/144/2018, wherein he barred all APC candidates from participating in the 2019 general elections,’’ 

 But Mr Patrick Luke, counsel to Sen. Magnus Abe and 42 others, in suit No: CA3/37/2019, said the ruling had not changed the position that APC candidates had been omitted in the election list.

“The appellant asked for a stay of execution of judgement of the federal High Court delivered on Jan. 7. They also asked for a restraining order.

“At the end of the proceedings today, the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, delivered a ruling and refused the reliefs restraining INEC from obeying orders of the reliefs that were sought in the Federal High Court judgement,’’ he said.

 Meanwhile, Gov. Nyesom Wike’s Campaign Organisation, said it was not perturbed by the decision.

 According to Mr Emma Okah, the spokesman of the organisation, Wike is confident of winning the election because of his achievements in the state.

“We are not perturbed. We are not afraid of any candidate contesting against Gov. Nyesom Wike. His achievements in the state will speak for him and the people of Rivers State will surely grant him victory any day.”

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