The Supreme Court has barred the All Progressives Congress (APC) from fielding any candidate for all elective positions in Rivers State during the 2019 general elections.
The apex court at a sitting on Friday upheld the judgement of a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, which restrained the ruling party from fielding any candidate in the National Assembly elections on February 16 and the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections on March 2.
In a unanimous verdict by a five-man panel of Justices, the Supreme Court upturned the judgement delivered by the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, which set aside the order of the Federal High Court.
Justice Sidi Barge, who delivered the lead judgement, noted that since the APC has withdrawn their appeal against the judgement of the High Court, the ruling party’s appeal of the matter is bound to be dismissed by virtue of section 11 Rule 5 of the Supreme Court rules.
The judge noted that the dismissal of the suit was pertinent following the Court of Appeal’s supposed failure to dismiss the appeal when the APC approached the appellate court.
“It is my considered opinion that this appeal must be given a decent burial. The appeal, having been withdrawn at the lower court by the respondent, is deemed distilled.
“This is what the lower court failed or evaded to do. Therefore, by virtue of section 22 of the Supreme Court Act 2004, the lower court, having failed to exercise its powers provided under order 11 Rule 5, this court is bound to do so.
“Thus I’ll allow, the appeal and set aside the ruling of the lower court dated October 31, 2018. I hereby dismiss Appeal No CA/PH/198/2018, same having been validly withdrawn,” Justice Barge ruled.
By this judgement, neither Tonye Cole nor Senator Magnus Abe, who have been jostling for the party’s governorship ticket in the state, is eligible to contest the election under the platform of the APC.