The Rivers State chapter of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) was on Tuesday hit by a major blow after a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt nullified all the primaries conducted by the party in the state over the unlawful exclusion of some members of the party as delegates to the primaries.
This ruling came after a suit, which was brought before the court by some aggrieved members of the APC in the state who had, during the primaries of the party, lamented exclusion.
During the APC primaries, some members of the party had alleged exclusion and took protests to the state Secretariat of the party in Port Harcourt.
One of the claimants whose name was given as, George Orlu and four others who claimed to have purchased nomination forms had approached the court requesting that the primaries of the APC in the state be nullified following their alleged exclusion in the process.
The court in its decision ruled that the persons were unlawfully excluded from the primaries.
Justice E.A. Obile, held that the aggrieved persons were shut out of the primaries unlawfully, adding that the process amounted to nullity.
Obile in the judgment agreed with the plaintiffs that they were wrongly excluded in the process to participate in the party primaries.
He, therefore, ruled that all those elected from the primary elections stand nullified and should not be recognised as candidates.
Africa Daily News, New York gathered that a number of aggrieved members of the APC loyal to the Governorship Candidate of Social Democratic Party, Senator Magnus Abe, had approached the Court challenging the conduct of the primary election with claims of exclusion from the delegates’ primaries conducted in the state.
The APC in a swift reaction, described the judgement as a travesty of justice.
Meanwhile, in a statement which was obtained by Africa Daily News, New York on Monday morning, the state APC Publicity Secretary, Darlington Nwaujun pointed out the attempt to exclude the main opposition party in the state from the ballot in 2023 like what happened in 2019 would fail.
The statement read, ‘Our immediate response is that the Supreme Court has decided on a plethora of cases suggesting that political parties are their own chief executive officers and can regulate their own internal affairs.
‘The subject matter for which Justice E. A. Obile granted the relief of plaintiffs to nullify the congresses of our party is entirely an internal party affair, therefore it’s a travesty of justice as far as we are concerned.
‘Secondly, the persons who went to court against our party are now members of the Social Democratic Party and therefore meddlesome interlopers in our internal affairs.
‘We do believe firmly that the appellate courts shall treat the matter dispassionately and deliver justice in this matter because this is not an action against the primaries of our party, but an attempt at challenging the composition of our delegates list.
‘We assure Rivers people that the attempt to rehash the 2019 episode in Rivers State is already dead on arrival.
‘Nothing will stop the APC in Rivers State from being on the ballot in 2023.’
Many Nigerians have taken to social media to react to the ruling which was very similar to that of 2019.