Hopes of Rivers chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to have candidates winning elective offices during 2023 election may have been dashed after a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, the state capital nullified primaries conducted by the party for upcoming poll over irregularities.
The court ruled that the major opposition party in Rivers conducted its primaries excluding some aspirants and delegates lists that were approved by the APC National Working Committee (NWC) for the exercise.
A claimant, George Orlu, and four others who claimed to have purchased nomination forms had approached the court requesting that the primaries of the APC in the state be nullified following their alleged exclusion in the process.
Justice E.A. Obile, held that the aggrieved persons were shut out of the primaries unlawfully, adding that the process amounted to nullity.
Obile in the judgment agreed with the plaintiffs that they were wrongly excluded in the process to participate in the party primaries.
He, therefore, ruled that all those elected from the primary elections stand nullified and should not be recognised as candidates.
The state APC Publicity Secretary, Darlington Nwaujun, while reacting to the judgement, said that it was an attempt to exclude the main opposition party in the state from the ballot in 2023 like what happened in 2019 would fail.
Nwaujun, in a statement made available to our correspondent on Tuesday, described the ruling as one that would not stand, assuring members that nothing could prevent APC from participating in the processes.
According to the statement, “Our immediate response is that the Supreme Court has decided on a plethora of cases suggesting that political parties are their own chief executive officers and can regulate their own internal affairs.
“The subject matter for which Justice E. A. Obile granted the relief of plaintiffs to nullify the congresses of our party is entirely an internal party affair, therefore it’s a travesty of justice as far as we are concerned.
“Secondly, the persons who went to court against our party are now members of the Social Democratic Party and therefore meddlesome interlopers in our internal affairs.
“We do believe firmly that the appellate courts shall treat the matter dispassionately and deliver justice in this matter because this is not an action against the primaries of our party, but an attempt at challenging the composition of our delegates list.
“We assure Rivers people that the attempt to rehash the 2019 episode in Rivers State is already dead on arrival. Nothing will stop the APC in Rivers State from being on the ballot in 2023.”