APC vows to petition NJC over Rivers election

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has threatened to petition the National Judicial Council (NJC) over a judicial verdict which prevented the party from holding congresses in Rivers State in 2019.

The party was also barred from participating in the 2019 governorship election in the state due to its failure to present a consensus candidate.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the court nullified both the direct and indirect primaries conducted by two factions of the party and instructed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to recognise any candidate of the APC for the 2019 general elections from the state.

This verdict aided the incumbent governor, Nyesom Wike, who had a smooth sail to victory as the governor of the state.

The party, in its statement issued on Wednesday, accused the main opposition party, PDP, of conniving with members of the state judiciary to arrive at the judgement.

“Following disputation in the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), we bring to the attention of the National Judicial Council (NJC) the suspicious handling of our court case by Justice Augusta Kingsley-Chukwu and the apparent machinations of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“On 6th September 2019, the APC constituted a caretaker committee to pilot the affairs of the party in Rivers State.

“The party also scheduled the conduct of congresses to elect the executives of the party at various levels. One Ibrahim Umah immediately instituted a court action at the Rivers State High Court challenging the proposed congresses of the APC and obtained an interim injunction restraining the APC from conducting the proposed congresses,” the party spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, stated.

Allegation

In the statement, the APC alleged that Mrs Kingsley-Chukwu, the judge in charge of the case, ”may not be able to effectively discharge her duty due to her relationship with a top member of PDP in the state.”

It also alleged that the judge’s husband, whose name was not mentioned, ”once contested for a chairmanship position in the state and currently serves as the legal adviser of the PDP in Rivers State.”

“It is now obvious that the PDP being the ultimate beneficiary of the inability of the APC to elect its state executives for more than one year owing to judicial restrictions have deployed professional litigants and judicial staff to aid their unholy interference in the affair of the APC.

“They have put their plans to action by getting minions to institute frivolous suit and ensuring that the suit is assigned to Justice Augusta Kingsley-Chukwu, wife of a top PDP leader in Rivers State,” the APC alleged.

PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately verify the party’s claims.

The party advised the judge to emulate Justices Zainab Bulkachuwa and Mary Odili, ”who had recused themselves from adjudicating over cases that would likely impact on the political interests of their spouses.”


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