Chris Steven, Abuja
THE Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed the judgement of the High Court that stopped the All Progressives Congress (APC) from preventing candidates in Rivers State for the general elections. will give it’s reasons at a later date.
But there are three other pending appeals on the controversial primaries of the party in Rivers State.
While ruling, the Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour-led bench of the apex court struck out one of the appeals by the APC after upholding the preliminary objection filed against it by a group of 22 members of the party loyal to Senator Magnus Abe in the state.
The 22 party members led by Ibrahim Umar, are opposed to the emergence of Tonye Cole as the governorship candidate of the party in the state.
Delivering the lead ruling of the five-man bench of the apex court on the APC’s appeal , Justice Amir Sanusi said the preliminary objection by the respondents was meritorious.
Justice Sanusi said that the apex court’s reasons for striking out the suit would be given at a date to be communicated to parties to the suit.
Meanwhile, the five-man bench is currently hearing three appeals which were consolidated earlier on Tuesday.
The appeal was filed against the judgment in a suit filed by one Ibrahim Umar and 21 others challenging the primary election that produced Tonye Cole as the governorship candidate of the APC.
The group loyal to Senator Magnus Abbe claimed the primary that produced Cole and others were done in disobedience to an order of court.
Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour fixed the date for the judgment after taking arguments from counsel for the APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), and counsel for the respondents, Henry Bello.
While addressing the court, Fagbemi urged the Supreme Court to nullify the judgment of the Federal High Court because the court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the reliefs sought by the respondents.
According to him, the judgement of the court is a nullity since the trial court has no jurisdiction.
Specifically, he asked the apex court to invoke Section 22 of its Act and give a final judgment on the substantive matter.
But countering the position, Bello urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal of the APC. As according him, it has become academic.
He submitted that by the decision of the apex court of February 8, 2019 upholding the decision of the Federal High Court barring the APC from conducting primary elections, the case had become spent.
He argued that section 87(9) of the Electoral Act conferred jurisdiction on the trial court.
The five-member panel led by Justice Rhodes-Vivour said judgment would be given today while the reasons for the judgment would be given at a later date.