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RIVERS: Cole, others in trouble as A’Court affirms APC cannot contest in 2019

RIVERS: Cole, others in trouble as A'Court affirms APC cannot contest in 2019

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tonye Cole, and his party may end up not fielding candidates in Rivers State for the 2019 elections except the Supreme Court rules otherwise.

The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division on Wednesday affirmed the ruling of a lower court that APC in Rivers will not field any candidate during the 2019 general elections.

Cole, a factional Rivers State APC governorship candidate had approached the appellant court to change the ruling of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu High Court judgement on APC in the state not fielding candidates in the coming general elections.

But ruling on the matter on Wednesday, the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division Special Panel, chaired by Justice Abubakar Yahaya, dismissed the appeal filed by Cole.

The court also affirmed the ruling of Justice Nwogu that Rivers State has no ward executives, local government executives and State Executives and dismissed the appeal filed by the sacked Rivers State APC state chairman, Mr Ojukaye Flag Amachree.

The Appeal Court dismissed the two appeals for lack of merit.

Ruling on a third appeal that challenged the ruling of Justice Nwogu, the court dismissed the appeal on the grounds that it was filed out of time and therefore statute barred.

According to Justice Yahaya, the appeal against Justice Nwogu ruling on APC congress crisis lacked merit because application for joinder failed to observe the 14 days rule of Appeal.

While giving verdict on the substantive appeal number CA/PH/198 that bothered on Justice Nwogu’s judgement, the panel ruled that the Ojukaye faction failed to seek leave of court before appealing against the judgement.

Yahaya, noting in his ruling that the judgement delivered at the lower court was a consent judgement, wondered why the Ojukaye faction failed to do the needful legally before approaching the court.

In his response to the ruling counsel to Ojukaye Flag Amachree, Emenike Ebete, said the Appeal Court heard the three matters and in her wisdom arrived at the rulings confirming the judgment of Justice Nwogu.

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“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 sought leave of court to appeal against that consent judgement. That is their own decision and they struck it out.

“The one for the candidates and the party state excos, we were dismissed on the ground that it was a pre-election matter, that 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 the judgment,” he said.

As it stands, Rivers incumbent governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nyesom Wike, is running the race for a second term in office without any major contender.

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