By Precious Akutamadu
The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has granted the application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Rivers to stop the All Progressives Congress (APC) from participating in 2019 general elections.
The application was granted by Justice Kolawole Omotosho on Monday in Port Harcourt.
Omotosho also ordered APC not to recognise, sponsor, nominate candidates or canvas for vote for all the candidates ahead of the general elections.
On whether another political party has the legal backing to interfere in another party’s affairs, Omotosho ruled that the newly expanded locus as amended in the Electoral Act allowed other political parties to challenge the affairs of another, if there was an error.
He stressed the need for respect to court orders, saying, “importance of obedience and compliance to court order is paramount.
”Rule of law must be adhered to for the country to move forward. Political parties should always obey the order of the cour.t”
Meanwhile, the Judge has recognised Mr Peter Odike as Rivers APC Chairman.
Reacting to the judgement while addressing newsmen, the counsel to PDP, Mr Dike Udenna, said the application was filed to stop APC in the state from participating in the election due to it’s refusal to comply with high court order.
“There has not been compliance with relevant electoral laws and those who have not been compliant with the electoral law should not be allowed to participate in the general elections in respect of which they did not comply.
“The court has looked at the matter, considered the entirety of it and agreed that we are right at the opinion we held that the APC did not comply with the requirements of electoral act and therefore not eligible to participate in the general elections in respect of the elective offices in Rivers – Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly,” he said.
Also, the counsel for candidates of APC, Mr Emenike Ebete, said his clients would challenge the ruling of the court.
Ebete said that INEC would not effect the judgment of the federal court as the ruling might not be the final declaration on the matter.
According to him, in cases like this, “you don’t take step immediately, you have to await what the court of Appeal and Supreme court will say.
“We are going to file our processes for appeal as soon as we get the judgment today or tomorrow and do the needful”.
In his remark also, counsel for Senator Magnus Abe, Henry Bello, described the judgement as ”brilliant”, saying it would serve as a deterrent to people, especially politicians to obey court orders.
“We wish to salute the industry of the court and the fact that the court emphasised the importance of obedience of the judgements and orders of court,” he said.
Omotosho had earlier nullified APC’s direct and indirect primaries conducted in the state.
The judge said he nullified the primaries on grounds that the two factions of APC acted in disrespect of a pending suit before a high court in Port Harcourt.
He said that the National Working Committee (NWC) did not supervise the conducted primaries by Sen. Magnus Abe-led faction of APC. (NAN)