In deference to the Supreme Court judgement, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sealed the hope of the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of fielding candidates for the 2019 general elections.
INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said yesterday in Abuja that the electoral body would uphold the Supreme Court ruling on the commission’s decision not to include in the ballot box, all APC candidates from Rivers State for both governorship and legislative elections.
Yakubu said: “Going by the judgment of the Supreme Court, we have taken a decision. Once the Supreme Court has made a pronouncement, all must obey it. We must go with the judgment.”
The Supreme Court in Abuja had upheld the order of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, which nullified the APC primaries in Rivers State because they were held in disobedience to a court judgement barring the party from conducting congresses pending the determination of a suit filed by 22 aggrieved members of the party.
The apex court quashed the verdict of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, which voided the interlocutory order of the High Court.
In a unanimous judgement, a five-man panel of justices of the Supreme Court declared that the verdict sought to be upturned was entered by consent and could not be appealed as a matter of right.
While briefing journalists on INEC’s preparations for the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections holding on Saturday, Yakubu maintained that since the Supreme Court, the highest court in Nigeria, had ruled on the Rivers APC matter, the commission must comply with it.
He said: “On the issues in Rivers, I think the Supreme Court has a number of pronouncements on that matter. And, for that reason the commission has taken the position made by the judgement of the Supreme Court. Under our constitution, the Supreme Court is the last court of resort for any citizen. There must be an end to litigations as lawyers say.
“And, once the Supreme Court makes a pronouncement all essence of authority in the paper are bound to obey its judgement. The commission as a law-abiding institution is bound by the judgement. That is my answer to the question and there is nowhere else to go. We will go by the judgements of all the courts but once it gets to the apex court, that is the end to the litigation,” he said.