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Court squashes APC Congresses in Rivers

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, has declared the Ward, Local Government and the State Congresses of the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, held on the 19th, 20th and 21st of May null and void.

Some members of the APC, who were aggrieved following the conduct of the ward congress of the party in the state on the 5th of May, had approached the court for redress.

The court had issued an Interlocutory Injunction stopping the party from using the outcome of the congress on the 5th to hold the Local Government congress of the party on the 12th May and adjourned till May 29th.

APC in the state had on the 12th conducted the congress, stating that it has not received any judicial notice stopping them from going on with the congress, even as they claimed that the congress was a process that has long begun.

However, the national leadership of the APC had on the 18th of May announced the cancellation of the ward and local government congresses conducted in the state on the earlier dates.

In a memo released and signed by the National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun, the party directed that the three congresses should hold the three successive dates, 19th, 20th and 21st May.

Following the directive of the national leadership of the party, the state APC held the congresses in which Hon. Ojukaye Flag Amachree was elected through consensus as the new Chairman of the party in the state.

When court resumed on the matter yesterday, Barr. Henry Bello, counsel for the aggrieved members of APC, had told the court that he has been duly served the motion on notice, adding that there nothing to show that the person who served him is not counsel for the party.

But, Tuduru Edeh, who told the court that he has the mandate of the APC to represent them in court, insisted that Barr. Chieme Chiweikpe who has been standing for the political party was at his own stance, wondering why Chiweikpe who claims to be for APC would have affidavit in support of all the prayers of the aggrieved members of the party.

Edeh told the court that Chikweikpe has been suspended by the APC since last year, stressing that he does not have the mandate of the party to stand for them.

Edeh also told the court that the defence has not being served. He also told the court that appeal has been entered on the matter, urging the court to step down the matter till the appeal is heard.

Meanwhile, after listening to the arguments Justice Chiwendu Nwogu, said that there is no evidence to prove that appeal has been entered, adding that even the court registrar could not also confirm the development.

Nwogu in his ruling, mentioned that the cancellation of the result of the APC congress held in the state on 5th and that of 12th and rescheduling the same congresses for 19th, 20th was to make the matter academic.

He ruled that it was wrong for the APC to go against the order of the court, noting that the political party had earlier attempted to lock the gate of the court in order to stifle justice.

He stated that the attitude of the APC holding the same congresses barred by the court on a later date was contempt, stressing that it was targeted at arm-twisting the judiciary.

Nwogu described the congresses of the APC in the state in the face of the order as an act of disobedience, noting that the conducts of the Tuduru Edeh, who had come to take over the matter as unprofessional.

He said he is satisfied with the reports of the court which shows that all the parties in the matter have been served duly, noting that no record could prove that the matter has been entered for appeal.

Nwogu also said the order of the court meant that the parties should maintain status quo and not to renew dates or events, adding that the attitude of APC amounts to contempt.

“The order was made to maintain statusco and not to renew dates or the events. The attempt of cancelling the earlier congress and holding same on later date is to frustrate this suit and make the matter an academic exercise.

It is a way to declare the Judiciary moribund. I hereby, annul the congresses of the APC held on the 19th, 20th and 21st. I declare it as null and void and also stop them from holding any other congress in the state pending the outcome of the suit,” Nwogu held.

He stated that the ruling was to restore the status-quo of the parties in the suit and adjourned till 26th June for hearing of the originating summons.

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