APC still fights to return to the ballot, charges INEC boss of contempt

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 APC protesters to INEC offices dispersed

– Petition fired to INEC

– Serves contempt charges on INEC chairman

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State by Friday, February 15, 2019, was putting finishing touches to recording a clean sweep on Saturday for their candidates in the presidential, senate and House of Representatives elections to be held on Saturday but the rival All Progressives Congress (APC) was still fighting to be returned to the ballot.

The APC was removed from the ballot weeks ago by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) following Federal High Court judgment upholding the Port Harcourt High Court nullification of the emergence of the Flag Amachree executives as demanded by the Magnus Abe camp of the party.

Now, the APC won two orders for stay of execution but INEC remained adamant, leaving the APC reeling. The hope that the Supreme Court would on Tuesday return the party to the ballot did not happen as the apex court ruled on other aspects especially upholding the right of the lawyer that had represented the APC at the high court who was challenged by the main faction for being a suspended member.

Now, the APC held a press conference in Port Harcourt on Thursday, stating why the party must be returned to the ballot and also urged their supporters to ‘come out and vote’. The statement signed by the publicity secretary, Chris Fineface, said the highest organ of the party had meticulously deliberated on the matter.

He said; “After a meeting of the State Working Committee of our party in the State today in which we meticulously deliberated on the recent court rulings of various courts especially the decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt yesterday to further re-affirm two earlier orders that stayed the execution of the judgments of the lower court, our conclusion is that the APC and it’s candidates will now, most certainly, be on the ballot this Saturday. No order or judgment given since, including orders given by the Supreme Court on both jurisdiction and representation have said otherwise.

“We opted not to rely on a media circus to convey our right to be included. Unlike the many news reports that were suggesting we were dead and buried, we have since seen the orders and the Supreme Court judgment on the stay of execution which proves beyond reasonable doubt that INEC has an obligation to re-list APC or risk being sanctioned for excluding us and disobeying a subsisting court order.

“We hail once again both decisions of the stay of execution, taken by the Court of Appeal recently and their reaffirmation of both yesterday. These decisions mean that nothing is stopping INEC from placing APC on the ballot. We welcome the moves by INEC to put us back on the ballot, as the alternative would have confirmed once and for all, the genuine fear that they are working for the PDP.

“We wish to state advisedly that obedience to the rule law is the best antidote to anarchy. In the circumstances, we urge INEC to speedily implement the rule of law and return our great party to its rightful place. We are only demanding a right to compete.

“I want to once again hail the decision of the Supreme court to refuse moves by Senator Magnus Abe and his lawyers to appeal the stays of execution. Nobody is in any doubt now that The Supreme court’s throwing out of the their appeal against our stays of execution, speaks volumes. In summary, it means that the stays still subsist. That is the clear position of the law. The stay orders, the details of the Supreme Court judgment and our formal letter to INEC are hereby attached for your perusal.

“We have passed the stage of worrying if we will be on the ballot. We must now prepare to punish those who have been trying to keep us out of the elections with our votes. With these same votes, we must give Mr. President our full support. He stood by our leader because our leader had always stood by him and if you want to keep getting what you are getting, you have to keep doing what you are doing.” Everybody must come out and vote APC to deny PDP any sight of government and help our President secure his second term in office.”

The party had sent supporters to protest at INEC earlier in the day but they were dispersed by the police. Later in the day, hints came that INEC was making arrangements to include the APC. By Friday, Tonye Princewill, a Kalabari prince, told newsmen that the party has just served contempt charge on the chairman of INEC, the professor, Mahmood Yakubu, to explain why he has not re-listed the APC.

So far, it has been a matter of speculations. All agencies seem to be on the wait for the final decision. If APC is returned, it may be followed by many other consequences including shifting of the other elections except presidential.

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