16 All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates for the Rivers State House of Assembly were disqualified by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt for failing to comply with the new election Act.
Following a lawsuit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) failure to oversee the APC parliamentary primary, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Turaki Adamu, issued the decision on Friday (INEC).
Obio/Akpor 1&2, Andoni, Okrika, Ahoada west, Khana 1&2, PH 1, 2 & 3, Etche 1&2 Oyigbo, Gokana, Tai, and Eleme are the impacted councils and constituencies.
Sogbeye Eli, the spokesman for the Rivers APC’s 2023 Elections Campaign Council, responded to the decision by stating that the party would endure despite being pushed to the limit by anti-democratic elements.
He asked party members and the millions of Rivers residents who were supporting the candidates in the impacted Constituencies to remain calm and collected as the party moves through with its appeal to overturn the decision and reinstate the candidates’ mandates in time for the elections.
The All Progressives Congress’s 2023 Elections Campaign Council, he said, “received the news of another judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt this afternoon ordering the disqualification of our candidates for the State House of Assembly in 16 Constituencies for March 11, 2023, general elections with surprise.
Justice Turaki Mohammed declared in favor of the plaintiffs in the action filed by the PDP v. INEC & 33 Ors (FHC/PH/CS/152/2022) regarding the INEC’s failure to monitor the APC parliamentary primary in Andoni, Etche Constituency 1 & 2, Tai, Gokana, Oyigbo, and Eleme.
Only the candidates for Ahoada East 1 & 2, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni 1 & 2, Emohua, Degema, Akuku Toru 1 & 2, Asari Toru 1 & 2, Bonny, Ikwerre, Omuma, Opobo/Nkoro, Abua/Odual, and Ogu/Bolo were spared in the ruling.
Given the circumstances, the Campaign Council is once again compelled to appeal to party members and the millions of Rivers supporters who are in the affected State Constituencies to remain calm and collected as they move forward with their appeal to overturn the decision and reinstate our candidates before the elections.
Before a different judge of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division in a different action contesting the eligibility of our candidates for the National Assembly, INEC had presented evidence to support the Commission’s oversight of the APC primary (Senate and the House of Representatives).