A Federal High court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, has given a judgement restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from presenting Tonye Cole and Magnus Abe as governorship candidates in the general elections.
The court also nullified all direct and indirect primaries conducted by both factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Justice James Omotosho, while delivering the judgement in Port Harcourt on Monday, said none of the primaries were conducted according to the law.
Delivering judgment, Justice Kolawole Omotosho, said both factions of the APC acted in disrespect of a pending suit before a Port Harcourt High Court.
The judge noted that the INEC did not do well by submitting names of candidates without consideration of previous court orders.
It would be recalled that an APC governorship aspirant, Sen. Magnus Abe and other party members had approached the court presided over by Justice Chinwedu Worgu, challenging their alleged exclusion from the primaries.
Abe and his supporters had alleged high-handedness and irregularities in the planned conduct of the party primaries.
Justice Omotosho held that the APC in Rivers could not produce candidates for governorship, national and state assembly polls, while the matter was pending.
According to him, it is illegal for candidates for the 2019 elections to emerge from the two primaries conducted by the two factions.
The two primaries as claimed by the factions were held during the pendency of the matter at the state high court.
“Both the direct and indirect primaries claimed to have been held by the APC are illegal and cannot stand in the face of the law,’’ he said.
One of the counsels to the APC factions, however, said told journalists that the judgement will be appealed at the Supreme Court.
The 2019 governorship is however fast approaching as it is set to hold in March.
Senator Abe in a direct governorship primary conducted in 2018 by a faction of the APC was declared winner after he got 144, 929 votes. He was closely followed by Lulu Briggs who got 3,444 votes.
In an indirect primary held in the state by another faction of the APC, Cole was declared the winner with 3,329 votes. He was followed by Dr Dawari George, who had 491 votes.
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