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Supreme Court Set To Deliver Judgement on Rivers APC Primaries Crisis tomorrow

The Supreme Court is to finally resolve the Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries logjam tomorrow as it delivers its judgement on an appeal brought before it by parties in the protracted conflict, THISADY learnt last night.

The judgement, which had been reserved indefinitely on Monday, apparently because of the impending arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) for alleged non-declaration of assets, would be delivered against the background, of what legal analysts described as concealed intimidation of the judiciary by the APC-led federal government.

Analysts were emphatic that there was a nexus between the Rivers State appeal case and Onnoghen’s travails, pointing out that statute and case law were very clear about the effect of admission of error in assets declaration, contending that once infraction is accepted by a public officer, recourse to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) would become spent.

They cited Section 3 (d) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, which states, “The functions of the Bureau shall be to receive complaints about non-compliance with or breach of this Act and where the Bureau considers it necessary to do so, refer such complaints to the Code of Conduct Tribunal established by section 20 of this Act in accordance with the provisions of sections 20 to 25 of this Act:
“Provided that where the person concerned makes a written admission of such breach or non-compliance, no reference to the Tribunal shall be necessary.”

The Supreme Court had on Monday reserved ruling on the competence of the appeal filed by the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, faction of the Rivers State Chapter of the APC.

The five man panel led by Justice Mohammed Datijo, fixed ruling on a date to be communicated to parties after listening to the submissions of counsel in the matter.
The Supreme Court had last December adjourned till March 8, 2019 to determine the legality or otherwise of primary elections the APC conducted in Rivers State for the purpose of nominating its candidates for the 2019 polls.

The appeal marked SC/1070/2018, was lodged before the court by 22 chieftains of the party led by one Abdullahi Umar.
The appellants, through their lawyer, Mr. Henry Bello, urged the Supreme Court to re-affirm the ruling it delivered on October 22, and nullify outcomes of the primary election that produced Mr. Dele Cole and other candidates in the faction of the party that is loyal to Amaechi.

The appellants equally urged the apex court to dismiss a pending appeal marked CA/PH/198/2015, which the said faction lodged before the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal. But, the apex court reconvened on Monday, about two months earlier than the planned date for delivery of its judgment in the suit.

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