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Rivers: APC lawyers write INEC, demand inclusion of candidates for polls

Omeiza Ajayi

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has 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.

INEC
INEC boss, Prof Mahmood Yakubu

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.

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“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.

“However, the 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.

Our dismay

“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 delay”, APC added.

The ruling party said the two Federal High Court judgments that INEC relied on to exclude her from the ballot have since been stayed by the Court of Appeal.

“A further appeal to the Supreme Court against the stays of execution has since been thrown out. There is, therefore, no reason to continue to leave APC Rivers off the ballot. All other appeals as they relate to other matters do not concern INEC. They are not party to them”, the APC explained.

Meanwhile, Vanguard gathered that the Commission would meet later on Wednesday to review the various judicial decisions on Rivers APC with a view to obeying them accordingly.


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