The Oasis Reporters
February 13, 2019
Between the All Progressive Congress, APC ruling party in Nigeria, there’s hardly little love left between it and the judiciary because of the personality of the nation’s President, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
If anyone has ever dragged and rubbed the nose of judicial officers in the mud, it is the APC government.
Judges have been humiliated and denigrated through corruption allegations culminating in the impunity of the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen. The candidates of the APC have been barred by the courts from presenting candidates in some of the elections starting from Saturday, February 16, 2019.
The Supreme Court has halted the ambition of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to present candidates for the forthcoming elections in the Oil rich Rivers State, a state they have long since set their eyes on, since it’s former governor, Rotimi Amaechi defected from the PDP to the APC to emerge the Director General of the Muhammadu Buhari election campaign organization in 2015. He was alleged to have substantially funded Buhari’s election campaign with money suspected to have come from the state government treasury.
But the Supreme Court justices have no hand in the debacle that confronts the ruling party. They have their frenzy, ego and huge desire to remain in power to blame, thereby making monumental errors that keeps them fighting each other, and failing in court.
The Apex Court on Tuesday struck out an appeal filed by the party challenging the judgment of a High Court in Rivers State which barred it from conducting any primaries in the state to nominate candidates for 2019 elections.
The Supreme Court judgement comes barely one week after same court stopped the APC from fielding candidates in all elections in the state.
NAN reports that the ruling APC was in support of Mr Tonye Cole’s candidature for the governorship election which the Magnus Abe group rejected.
Their woes did not stop in Rivers state alone. The story is the same in Ogun state, where youths prevented the APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari and the party C, Adams Oshiomhole from addressing their rally in Abeokuta, Ogun state. The different factional congresses have produced different candidates while the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun has been alienated from the party top hierarchy. The party subsequently has no acceptable set of candidates in the election due to court cases and disagreements.
A Federal High Court has sacked Senator John Owan-Enoh as Cross River APC gubernatorial candidate, described as a factional governorship candidate, as well as other candidates of the party currently recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court also sacked the factional leadership of the party led by Mr. John Ochalla, which is loyal to Owan-Enoh.
But the sacked candidate, through his media spokesman, Dan Amor, last night insisted that the purported court judgment did not invalidate his candidacy as the APC standard bearer for the state in the March 2, 2019 governorship election.
In a two-hour judgment delivered by Justice Simon A Amobeda, the court ordered that “INEC should only receive and accept the names and candidates for the 2019 elections that emerged from the lawful executive led by Godwin Etim John.”
It also ordered that persons parading themselves as the executive members of the APC in Cross River State should forthwith cease and that the lawful executive of APC in the state remains that which is led by John.
Speaking with journalists on the judgment, counsel to the claimants, Ayei Okpa, explained that “the judgment clearly is in support of the rule of law as it also supports the yearning of the common man,” adding that, “once a judgment is delivered in a court of law, everyone affected by that judgment is supposed and ought to comply with the said judgment and that is what this court today, has confirmed.”
But Enoh disagrees, claiming that he is the authentic candidate of the APC in Cross River State as the primary through which he emerged was duly conducted by the National Working Committee of the party as stipulated by the party’s constitution and not through state faction.
“Pastor Usani Uguru Usani who lacks the equanimity to accept defeat is the one who should be arrested for flouting series of court orders. If Usani sees himself as a candidate for any elective position, why has he not tendered his resignation from office as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs 30 days to the election as stated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?”
Whichever way it goes, Cross River State APC has clearly lost the momentum due to their infighting and may pose little threat to Governor Ben Ayade.
The story is the same in Zamfara state, North West Nigeria, a state where the political leaders are fleeing from, due to the severe insecurity in the region. The Court of Appeal in Sokoto has washed it’s hands off the political case between APC politicians and the state government led by Abdulaziz Yari. The aggrieved candidates were seen at the NUJ Press center in far away Kaduna addressing a Press conference. Fearful for their lives, they seem to have taken refuge in Kaduna. Amongst them, include popular Zamfara state senator, Mr Marafa and the country’s Defense minister, Brig. Gen. Dan Ali.
It is clear that the ruling party is currently embattled within itself and accused of non performance in key areas of security, economy and the fight against graft. The General election commences on February 16. The APC house seems divided and demoralized. They are very likely going to lose on several fronts, as long as the Opposition PDP remains upbeat and united.