Government & Politics

Supreme Court Decides Rivers APC’s Fate Today

The Supreme Court will deliver judgements in the about six appeals by the two warring factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.

The appeals are mainly against the decision of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, which upheld the judgment of the High Court of Rivers State which voided the primaries conducted by the faction loyal to Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi and the other loyal to Senator Magnus Abe.

A five-man panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, scheduled judgment for today after entertaining arguments from the lawyer to the faction loyal to Amaechi, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and Henry Bello, who represented the faction loyal to Abe.

Fagbemi and Bello argued the appeal filed by the APC, in which the court said it will give judgment today, would be binding on the other appeals.

Fagbemi urged the court to void the judgment of the High Court on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction when it entertained the suit on which the judgment was given.

He contended that since the trial court had no jurisdiction, its judgement in the matter was a nullity and should be set aside.

Fagbemi urged the court to invoke Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act and give final judgment in the matter to end the multiple cases arising from the Rivers State APC primary election.

Bello, in his counter-argument, urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal of the APC on the ground that it has become academic in nature in view of an earlier decision by the court.

He contended that by the decision of the court on February 8, which upheld the order of the High Court, restraining APC in Rivers State from conducting any primary election, the current appeal by APC had died and should be buried.

Bello told the court that the respondents, led by Ibrahim Umar, who were aggrieved by the violation of the Electoral Act and the Constitution in the manner the APC conducted its pre- election matters in Rivers, had secured a consent judgment in their favour, a judgment, he insisted, still stands.

At the conclusion of arguments by parties, Justice Rhodes-Vivour frowned at the multiple appeals filed by both factions of the APC in Rivers on a single issue.

He said the multiple appeals were not only time wasting, they were capable of confusing the court.

The court struck out an appeal filed by Abe against the stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court, which nullified the nomination of Cole and others as candidates the APC in Rivers State.

The court upheld the argument by Fagbemi (SAN). Fagbemi had argued that the records of proceedings at the lower court, filed by Abe did not follow the rules of the Appeal Court to certify the said documents.

Ruling Justice Rhodes-Vivour noted that only a few of pages of the records of appeal were signed.

He said since most of the pages were not signed, it could be interpreted that they were Abe’s personal documents.

Justice Rhodes-Vivour ordered parties to the appeal back to the Court of Appeal for the determination of the substantive appeal.

Abe had appealed an interlocutory decision of the Court of Appeal, which stayed the execution of the judgment of the High Court which nullified the primaries of the APC in Rivers State

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