By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Supreme Court for the second time on Thursday dashed the hope of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State of participating in the 2019 general election.
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by the APC praying the apex court to set aside its earlier judgment that upheld decision of the lower courts barring the Rivers APC from fielding any candidate in the 2019 general election for lacking in merit.
A seven member panel of justices of the Supreme Court led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, in a unanimous ruling held that the APC’s appeal was defective, incompetent and should be struck out.
The APC in a notice of appeal, argued by its counsel, Justin Okutepa SAN, had urged the apex court to depart from its previous decision that held that the APC cannot field candidates in the just concluded general election on grounds that its appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division was academic having been filed out of time.
He also urged the Supreme Court to invoke section 22 of its rule and set aside the judgment of the Rivers State High Court which barred the APC from participating in the general election on grounds that it did not conduct a valid primary election.
However, counsel to the 1st respondent, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emmanuel Ukalla SAN, however in a Notice of Preliminary Objection urged the apex court to strike out the appeal or dismiss it in its entirety for lacking in merit.
According to Ukalla, the appeal was defective on the grounds that the appellant had asked the Court of Appeal for reliefs ought to have sought for at the Supreme Court.
Ukalla while insisting that the appellant does not have any valid appeal before the apex court urged the Supreme Court to uphold its preliminary objection and dismiss the appeal for lacking merit.
Delivering ruling on the preliminary objection, the seven man panel agreed with the submissions of the PDP lawyer and accordingly dismissed the appeal for being incompetent.