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Court Strikes Out Rivers APC Faction’s Appeal

An Appeal Court in Port Harcourt on Wednesday dismissed the appeal by the Ojukaye Flag-Amachree-led All Progressives Congress in Rivers State.

The special Appeal Court panel led by Justice Abubakar Yahaya also dismissed two appeals (joinder applications) filed by Flag-Amachree and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Tonye Cole and other candidates belonging to the same faction.

Flag-Amachree-led APC in the state had challenged the October 10, 2018 judgement of the State High Court on the party congresses in the state.

The High Court ruling was in favour of Ibrahim Umar and 22 other aggrieved members of APC who had expressed misgiving over the process leading to the congresses.

However, Justice Yahaya, who delivered judgement on the appeal registered as No. CA/PH/198, maintained that the petition against the ruling of the High Court on the state party’s congress crisis lacked merit.

On the joinder application, the court stated that the applications failed to adhere to the 14-day rules of appeal.

Also delivering judgement on a substantive appeal bordering on State High Court’s ruling, Justice Yahaya added that the Rivers APC faction did not seek leave of court before appealing the judgement.

Describing the lower court’s ruling on the matter as a consent judgement, Justice Yahaya explained that the Flag-Amachree’s faction of the party should have done the needful legally before approaching the (Appeal) court.

“This matter is within one party; what is going to happen when it is between separate parties? It is politics, we are brothers, same house and we are throwing stones at each other. Please, let’s reconcile and settle this,” the lead Appeal Court judge advised.

Speaking shortly after the court session, counsel for the 23 aggrieved respondents, Patrick Luke, explained that the three cases in the Appeal Court were struck by the special Appeal Court panel.

According to Luke, “The first was an appeal against the judgement of October 10, 2018, delivered by the High Court of Rivers State.

“After listening to our arguments, the court dismissed that appeal because they filed their appeal outside the terms provided by the Constitution and they ought to file that appeal within 14 days upon delivery of judgement by the lower court.

“But they filed the appeal 25 days later through the status bar and it was accordingly dismissed by the Court of Appeal today. The other two matters were based on application for joinder. The two applications were also struck out for lack of merit.

“The implication is that the judgement delivered by the High Court of Rivers State on October 10, 2018 is valid, subsisting, sacred and inviolable.”

In his remarks, counsel for the applicant, Emenike Ebete, stated, “Today, the Court of Appeal special panel held three appeals against the High Court of Rivers State, 281 and 282 respectively, which were applications by the candidates against the lower court judgement of October 10, 2018.

“Arguments were taken, but the Court, in its infinite wisdom, held that in appeal 461; that is the substantive appeal, that the consent judgement of the High Court of Rivers State and by provision of the Constitution, we ought to have sort leave of court to appeal against that consent judgement.

“That is their own decision and they struck it out and they said we should come back and do the proper thing by seeking leave of the court. The one for the candidates and the party state excos, we are dismissed on the ground that it was a pre-election matter.

“The court said we did not bring the application within 14 days after decision was delivered on October 10. What that means is that, we will approach the Supreme Court to contest that.”

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