Rivers APC Primaries: Supreme Court to Hear Abe, Cole’s Appeals April 4

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Supreme Court yesterday adjourned till April 4 to hear all pending appeals relating to the Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries.

A seven-man panel of justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Ibrahim Muhammad fixed the date for hearing on all the various appeals after addressing some preliminary issues on the appeals.

The appeals are: SC/ 1972019 filed by Magnus Abe and some others with APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) listed among the respondents: SC 295/20019 filed by APC, with People Democratic Party (PDP) listed among respondents: SC266, filed by APC with Abe and others as respondents and SC/267/2019 filed by Tonye Patrick Cole with Abe and 48 others as respondents.

The court granted the motion by the APC represented by Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) for permission to merge the different respondents’ briefs earlier filed by the second to the 35th respondents into a single brief.

It rejected a similar motion filed by the appellants’ lawyer, Henry Bello, for leave (permission) to amend the notice of appeal on grounds that Bello failed to attach the old notice of appeal to the motion as required.

The apex court, however, ordered appellants to file their reply to the respondents’ brief of argument within 48 hours.

The three appeals were adjourned to April 4 to allow the formal service of hearing notices and all other processes on INEC which was not represented yesterday.

Other members of the seven-man panel of the Supreme Court are Justices Olukayode Ariwoola, Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Amiru Sanusi, Paul Galinje, Amina Augie and Uwani Musa Abba Aji.

Senator Abe in his appeal asked the apex court to determine the authenticity or otherwise of the direct primaries conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State for the nomination of its candidates for the 2019 general election.

Senator Abe, who is a factional leader of the state APC, is praying the apex court to make a final pronouncement on the legality of both direct and indirect primary polls conducted by the two factions of the party last year.

The motion dated March 1 was predicated on eight grounds and affidavit of urgency among which is that the matter being a pre-election suit must by law be
fully determined within 60 days.