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APC won’t have any candidate in Rivers, INEC insists
THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that the All Progressives Congress will not be allowed to field any candidate in Rivers State during the forthcoming general elections.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of voter education and publicity, Festus Okoye, said this while addressing newsmen at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, stressing that INEC’s earlier decision on the APC in Rivers State has not been reviewed.
“We have taken a decision relating to the issue of Rivers and if anything changes before we take our final decision, the Commission will meet; but we have not taken any other decision and we have not repealed our position on the issue of Rivers,” Okoye said.
This is regardless of the stay of execution order issued by the Court of Appeal in a case filed by the Rivers State APC chapter following the decision by INEC to exclude the party from the polls.
An internal rancour had split the Rivers APC into two factions, one loyal to the Minister of Transportation and former Governor of the State, Rotimi Amaechi, and the other to Magnus Abe, a serving senator.
Both factions claim to have conducted primaries and have their respective governorship candidates, but a court judgement annulled both primaries because they were conducted in spite of a subsisting court order.
In annulling the primary elections, Justice Kolawole Omotosho pointed out that neither the Amaechi’s faction nor the Abe’s faction had the legal authority to nominate a candidate for the governorship candidacy.
Omotosho specifically ruled that the APC cannot participate in the governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly elections during the 2019 polls in Rivers State.
But the Abe faction took the matter to the Appeal Court, which granted a stay of execution of the judgement of the lower court.