▪says matter is a pre-election issue and Supreme Court wrote to indicate it would hear it after elections because of a petition by the Amaechi faction
Factional Leader of Rivers APC, Senator Magnus Abe has stated that he was not surprised that the Supreme Court struck out his motion seeking to validate direct primaries held by his faction before the Supreme Court wrote him a letter before the election explaining that it will hear the pre-election matter after the conclusion of 2019 elections.
Speaking during a Channels Television Programme on Tuesday night, Senator Abe said that the Supreme Court had premised its decision to hear the pre-election matter after the 2019 elections on a petition written by the Amaechi faction of Rivers APC, which challenged the integrity of the panel hearing the matter at the time. He said that the Supreme Court letter which implied a judgment, said a new panel would be constituted after the elections had been concluded.
Abe said as a senior lawyer, he understood the implication of adjourning a pre-election matter to after the elections.
It will be recalled that the Supreme Court had repeatedly declared the primaries and congresses of Rivers State APC null and void on the Premise of the Judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu. It was on the premise of that Judicial Pronouncement by the Apex Court that the Independent National Electoral Commission removed APC from the ballot for 2019 General Elections in Rivers State. The APC accepted its fate and declared an alliance with AAC during the elections.
He said: “Because of the delay in hearing the matter, the Supreme Court actually wrote a letter to us, a week before the election to say the matter could not be heard because the other Rivers State APC faction had written a petition against the Judges.
“Therefore, the Supreme Court had decided that the matter could only be heard after the elections, when a new panel had been constituted.
“For me, as a lawyer, I read that to mean a judgment of the court as far as the issue was concerned. This was clearly a pre-election matter. The effectiveness of the pronouncement would have affected the party going into the election when the court wrote that letter; I saw it as a decision on itself.
“When the suit was struck out, it didn’t come to me as a surprise. As far as we were concerned, the decision to strike out the suit was taken when a decision was taken not to hear the suit before the election”
Senator Abe noted that the failure of Rivers APC to respect existing order of court at the time led to her misfortune during the 2019 elections.
He said: “I think that people have to have some basic understanding of what actually happened. As you will re-collect, the NWC of APC had asked that the state should make a determination as to the kind of primaries they would use, whether direct or indirect.
“As there was an existing court order that nullified the new state Exco for the party – so the existing Exco made a request for direct primaries to avoid the existing complications that were already evident at that time.That is the end of the road, legally nowhere else for us to go.
“It is really unfortunate, everybody in Rivers State knew that the APC crisis will only benefit Wike. Anybody who pretends that he did not know that the situation we had will benefit our opponent, is not being truthful.
“The beginning of this crisis was when members of our party bought forms from the party to participate in our congresses and a decision was taken that they are no longer members of the party, that wasn’t what the constitution of the party says”.
Senator Abe noted that no leader of Rivers APC can solely determine the fate of the party.
“This whole issue has been about trying to prove that certain people are irrelevant and certain people don’t matter. That some people are the party and they can do without others.I want to say clearly that they cannot.
“The whole idea of only one person trying to deliver the APC in Rivers State without the participation of others and inclusion of others in the party is a mirage and it will not work.
“We are not baby politicians, we knew after the 2015 elections, that there will be elections in 2019, and we had the same time as other political parties to put our house in order to take over Rivers State. But because of the attitude and the imperial nature of certain persons trying to prove that some people are irrelevant, we found ourselves where we are”, he said.
Counsel to Senator Magnus Abe, Barrister Henry Bello speaking on the same programme, said they were in court to urge the Apex Court to pronounce that the indirect primaries were valid because the Supreme Court had already invalidated the indirect primaries conducted by the Amaechi faction.
Henry Bello said: “We wanted the direct primary elections conducted in Rivers State which was not tainted by disobedience of valid and subsisting orders of court to be recognized by the Supreme Court in Umar v APC reported in 2018”.