Court Nullifies Nomination Of Tonye Cole As APC’s Governorship Candidate In Rivers
A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Wednesday nullified the nomination of Mr Tonye Cole as the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.
According to the court, his nomination is a function of illegality and unconstitutional acts.
The court nullified the House of Representatives, Senatorial and House of Assembly primaries conducted in the state on the basis that the ward congresses were illegal.
Also nullified were the elections of the party’s Ward Executives, Local Government Executives and State Executive Committee that emerged from the illegal ward congresses.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Chiwendu Nwogu in the suit filed by Ibrahim Imah and 22 others against the party, the court declared that the ward congresses of Rivers APC were illegal because they were not conducted in line with the party’s guidelines and constitution.
Justice Nwogu set aside the ward congresses of Rivers APC on May 19, 2018, Local Government Congresses of May 19, 2018, and State Congress of the party of May 21, 2018.
He stated that all actions taken by the party during the pendency of the suit have been set aside because they are illegal and unconstitutional.
He declared that all those who purchased nomination forms for the ward congresses were entitled to contest the ward congresses of May 19, 2018, but were unjustly excluded by the party.
“The Rule by might must be checked by the rule of law. We must restore the hope of the common man in the justice system”.
Justice Nwogu who linked his judgement to the Amaechi vs INEC issue of 2007, said that having studied the submissions in the matter, he was bound to make consequential orders to ensure that justice was done in the case.
According to him, the High Court has the jurisdiction to entertain the matter as an appeal filed by the respondents at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt to stop proceedings on the suit which was rejected by the Appellate Court on September 21, 2018.
He noted that all through the hearing, the APC filed no counter-affidavit denying the facts of the matter as presented by the applicants in the originating summons.
Justice Nwogu said that it is a trite law that facts not disputed are deemed admitted.
On the suit filed in an Abuja High Court by a faction of the APC, Justice Nwogu declared that the court is of coordinate jurisdiction with the High Court in Port Harcourt and cannot sit in appeal over it. He added that the suit filed by Ibrahim Imah preceded that of the Abuja High Court by a faction of the Rivers State APC.
Earlier before the delivery of the judgment, a counsel to the APC, Prince OSM Azunda moved a motion seeking to stop the delivery of the judgment.
But Justice Nwogu dismissed his application which he termed as a ploy to arrest the judgement.
Following the judgment, the APC no longer has a candidate for the governorship, Senate, House of Representatives, House of Assembly Elections in the forthcoming 2019 General Elections.
The party also has no State Working Committee, Local Government Working Committees and Ward Executives.