Rivers APC Guber Tussle: Apex Court Decides Abe, Cole’s Fate Today


Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Supreme Court would today decide the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), between Magnus Abe and Tonye Cole, in the March 2 governorship election in Rivers State.

A five-man panel of the Supreme Court yesterday adjourned to today to deliver judgment on the appeal challenging the judgment delivered by the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court, which set aside the two primaries conducted by two factions of the APC in the state.

Presiding Judge, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, announced that the apex court would deliver its judgment on the appeal shortly after both counsel for appellant, APC , Lateef Fagbemi and counsel for the respondents, Henry Bello, made their final submissions on the matter.

While one of the factions is headed by Transport Minister, Rotimi Amechi, the other is led by Senator Magnus Abe.

Fagbemi in praying the apex court to nullify the judgment of the trial court submitted that the trial court had no jurisdiction when it entertained the suit.

He also claimed that since the trial court had no jurisdiction, its judgment in the matter amount to a nullity and should be set aside.

Fagbemi specifically asked the Supreme Court to invoke Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act and give final judgment in the matter to end the multiple cases arising from the Rivers State APC primary election.

On his part, counsel to the respondents, Bello urged the court to dismiss the appeal of the APC on the ground that it has become a mere academic exercise having been overtaken by event.

He argued that by the decision of the apex court on February 8, 2019, which upheld the decision of the trial court and barred APC from primary election, the case of APC had died and should be buried.

Bello told the court that the respondents led by Ibrahim Umar who were aggrieved by the violation of the Electoral Act and the 1999 constitution in the manner APC conducted pre- election matters in Rivers, had secured a consent judgment in their favour that the judgment still stands.

He urged the court to hold that the instant appeal has become academic exercise.

The court after listening to the counsel, said judgement will be given today, while the reasons for its position would be given at a later date.