Rivers APC suffers another setback as appeal court insists candidates can’t contest elections

A court of appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, has ruled the All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot field candidates for the forthcoming elections.

The state high court had in a ruling voided the party’s congresses. The court had said the party conducted its congress in outright violation of subsisting court orders. The judge described the said congress as a nullity.

The APC appealed the judgment of the lower court at an appeal court.

In December 2018, the appellate court dismissed APC’s appeal challenging the verdict of Chiwendu Nworgu of the state high court.

However, the party, dissatisfied with the ruling, filed another appeal, challenging the ruling of the same court.

The APC argued that the lower court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter in the first instance.

In her ruling, C.N. Nwa, a judge, argued that the case filed at the state high ought to have been appealed and disposed off within 60 days after the lower court’s judgment.

She explained that where an action is status bound, the appellate court has no constitutional right to hear it.

She added that the appellate court could not rule against itself having earlier dismissed the matter.

“This is a pre-election matter. The Court has earlier held this in an appeal of the substantive matter. This court cannot seat against itself on the same matter. The appeal is fundamentally defective. The court cannot go into the matter, as doing so will amount to an effort in futility,” Nwa said.

“It is unnecessary to continue an appeal, no matter the merit, which this court has held as status bound. It would be an effort in futility to continue. This appeal is hereby struck out.”

Meanwhile, APC candidates were excluded from the list released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) listing the names of candidates qualified for the national assembly election in Rivers state.