The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has now concluded that the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State, will not field candidates in the 2019 general elections.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, put an end to the matter when he addressed the press in Abuja on Wednesday ahead of the Saturday’s elections.
According to him, the commission will obey the pronouncement of the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the country according to the constitution.
Yakubu said, “As for APC in Rivers, I think the Supreme Court has made a number of pronouncements on that matter and for that reason, the commission has taken its decision going by the judgement of the Supreme Court.
“And in our constitution, the Supreme Court is the last resort for any citizen. And there must be an end for litigation as lawyers may say and once the Supreme Court makes a pronouncement, all agencies and authorities in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, abide by the judgement of the Supreme Court.
“And so, the commission as a law abiding institution, will always abide by the judgement of courts so that is the situation for Rivers State. There’s nowhere else to go. We’ll go by the judgement of all courts, but when it comes to the Supreme Court, that is the end of all litigation.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had written the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to demand the inclusion of its governorship, federal and state assembly candidates in the rescheduled general elections, citing various decisions of higher courts to justify its stance.
The letter which was addressed to the INEC Chairman was dated February 19 and received by the Commission same day. All national commissioners in INEC were also copied.
Lawyers to the APC, Messrs Tuduru Ede and Co. recalled that the APC duly submitted the list of its candidates for Rivers State for the 2019 general elections in line with the timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission.
“Also recall that the names and particulars of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates were duly published by the commission as required by law.”We are aware that pursuant to the judgment in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/ 149/2018 between Peoples Democratic Party V. All Progressives Congress (APC) & Anor, the names of APC candidates for Rivers State were removed from the final list of candidates published by the commission.
“ APC aggrieved by the said decision of the Federal High Court on which the decisions of the commission to remove the list was anchored appealed to the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division in appeal No. CA/PH/38/2019 and the Court of Appeal in a considered ruling delivered on 6th February 2019 has stayed the execution of the said judgment of the Federal High Court. A copy is hereto annexed as Annexure A for ease of reference”, the party stated.
It went further to state that “ the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division also in another appeal numbered as appeal No. CA/PH/39/ 2019 further stayed the execution of the judgment of Federal High Court, Port Harcourt. A copy is hereto annexed as Annexure B. Furthermore, appeal to the Supreme Court in appeal No. SC 118/2019 against the order of stay of execution granted by the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division has been struck out by the Supreme Court. The order of the Supreme Court is annexed as Annexure C.
“We are therefore dismayed that despite the ruling of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the names of candidates of APC have not been published by the commission for the purpose of participating in 2019 general election.
“It is imperative to place on record that the judgment of the Rivers State High Court, in suit No. BHC/78/2018 which was fought to the Supreme Court in appeal No. SC 1332/2018, SC 1333/2018, SC 1334/2018 and SC 81/2018 has nothing to do with INEC as it is not a party thereto.
You may also wish to note that in spite of the said Judgment of Rivers State High Court, the commission accepted and published the names of candidates of APC in respect of Rivers State and it was the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt that warranted the removal of the names from the final list published by the commission which judgment has now been stayed. “In view of the foregoing, we call on the commission to without delay publish the names of candidates of APC in Rivers State for the 2019 general election as submitted by the APC, we have no doubt that the commission as a law-abiding institution will accede to this request without