The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State for the second time dismissed an appeal instituted by the All Progressives Congress, APC, challenging the ruling of the Justice Chiwendu Nworgu of the Rivers State High Court, which nullified the party’s Wards, Local Governments, and State Congresses.
Recall that the Appeal Court had on December 12, last year, struck out the same appeal against the State High Court decision for filing out of the stipulated time in the constitution.
Last Tuesday, the APC had approached the Court of Appeal again, challenging the ruling of the same court, stressing that the lower court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter on the first instance.
But the visiting Appeal Court Panel constituted to handle the matter, struck it out on Wednesday, saying it was a pre-election matter.
Delivering the judgment on behalf of the panel, on Wednesday, Justice C.N. Uwa stated that the matter, which the lower court handled was a pre-election issue and ought to have been appealed and disposed off within 60 days after the judgment of the lower court.
Justice C.N Uwa stated that the panel’s hands are tied to go into the substantive case, stressing that a preliminary objection which bothers on the status of the case had earlier been taken by the same court.
Uwa held that, where an action was status-bound, it means the court has no right to hear it, adding that the issue of filing out of time was a preliminary objection which is in itself a case.
She held that the court would remain consistent in its rulings because the same court had earlier struck out the appeal on the issues of time of filing.
“This is a pre-election matter. It has earlier been held by this same court in an appeal of the substantive matter. This court cannot seat against itself on the same matter.
“The appeal is fundamentally defective. The court cannot go into the matter, as doing so will amount to an effort in futility.
“It is unnecessary to continue on an appeal no matter the merit, which this court has held as status-bound. It would be an effort in futility to continue. This appeal is hereby struck out”, Justice Uwa stated.
Speaking with Journalists after the judgment, Henry Bello, Counsel for Ibrahim Umar and other 22 aggrieved APC members explained that; there is no appeal pending in this Court of Appeal against the decision of the High Court of Rivers State delivered by Justice Chiwendu Nwogu on October 10, 2018.
“This is that the judgment of the court on October 10, 2018, was validly made, subject to the decision of the Supreme Court in defending the appeals at the Supreme Court.
“The implication is that as from today (16/01/2019), there is no more challenge at the Court of Appeal against that judgment of the lower court, the High Court of Rivers State in the suit by Ibrahim Umar and 22 others against All Progressives Congress (APC).
“By this judgment, it is now declared null and void the indirect primary elections conducted in Rivers State by the APC”, Bello added.