THE Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, yesterday ordered stay of execution on the order of the state High Court, which nullified the state ward, local government and state congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The three-man Appeal Court panel headed by Justice Isaiah Akeju validated the party’s congresses and dismissed the stay of proceeding application by the party.
APC ward, local government and state congresses were scheduled to hold in the state on May 11.
However, the party members desirous of contesting various positions paid for nomination forms to enable them participate and contest positions in the congress. With their bank tellers, they went to party secretariat to obtain, fill and return their forms, but were allegedly denied the forms.
The affected persons, their supporters and other aggrieved party members gathered at its secretariat to protest the denial, but were dispersed by policemen.
Ibrahim Umar and 22 others challenged their unlawful exclusion and prayed for an injunction order to restrain the party from holding the congress without them, having paid for the forms.
The court granted the order, but this was allegedly flouted by APC on the ground that they did not receive any court papers asking them not to hold the congresses.
The party members, who went to court to protest their unlawful exclusion, returned to court to complain of the “illegality of holding the congress in defiance of the court’s order”. They urged the court to void the illegal exercise and the court did.
Following the report, the court declared null and void the ward, LGA and state congresses that produced Amachree as state party chairman.
The APC appealed the ruling and prayed the court to, among others, stay the execution of the order nullifying the ward, LGA and state congresses and its outcome and also to dismiss the suit before the high court.
The Appeal Court yesterday granted a stay of execution application of the party, but threw away the application for stay of proceeding sought.
The Appeal Court panel, including Justice Jumbo Offor and Justice S.B. Sanga, in its decision, urged parties in the matter to continue with suit.
The appeal panel also addressed the issue of legal representation for APC, noting that it is only the national legal adviser that has the right to appoint legal representation in any case.