The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has ordered the
Independent National Electoral Commission to expunge the names of
candidates representing the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State in
the February and March 2019 general elections.
The presiding judge, Justice James Omotosho, gave this order on Monday
while ruling on a suit brought before the court, asking it not to
recognise any candidate from the state APC.
Delivering his judgment, Omotosho made reference to an earlier ruling by
the Rivers State High Court, which nullified the ward, local government
and state congresses held by the state APC.
He ruled, “All nominations in the APC, from governorship, Senate,
House of Representatives and others are hereby nullified and void and
“Only political parties that conducted valid primaries are eligible to produce candidates for the general elections.
All Progressives Congress is not entitled to nominate candidates from
governorship to Senate, House of Representatives and other positions.”
He added, “The plaintiffs did not participate in valid primaries; they
are not eligible to contest because they did not follow due process.”
The judge, who also ruled on whether a political party could interfere
in the affairs of another political party, stated that the amended
Electoral Act, in its expanded locus, had paved the way for a political
party to challenge the dealings of another party.
He pointed out that this could be necessary if a political party felt
there was an error in the action or actions of another party.
But the Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation said it would challenge
Monday’s ruling that barred INEC from recognising any APC candidate in
Rivers State ahead of the general elections.
A statement signed by the spokesman for the Tonye Cole Campaign
Organisation, Mr Ogbonna Nwuke, indicated that it was obvious the battle
was between the APC and the PDP in the state.
“Our position, after consultations with our lawyers, is that we shall
challenge the order in an appellate court. Although we were not favoured
by the decision, our faith in the country’s judicial system remains
“We believe we have sufficient grounds on which to appeal the decisions
of the Federal High Court as well as the ruling of the Rivers State High
Court,” the statement read.