A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Friday invalidated five House of Assembly candidates of Action Democratic Party ADP in Rivers State over the party’s non-compliance with the new electoral act.
Recall that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State took 10 House of Assembly candidates of ADP to court for not complying with the new electoral act.
When the matter came up for judgment on Thursday, the presiding Judge, Justice Turaki Muhammed said the PDP was able to prove to the court that five of the ADP House of Assembly candidates’ primaries were not monitored by INEC as such remains invalidated.
Justice Muhammed however said it cannot nullify the five other ADP candidates because the PDP did not provide enough evidence to determine that the primaries were held outside the constituencies.
The affected constituencies where ADP will not field candidates are Emohua, Eleme, Bonny, Omuma, and Oyigbo State House of Assembly, while Asari Toru Constituency 1 and 2 as well as Port Harcourt Constituency 1, 2 and 3 the ADP candidacy are not invalidated.
One of the lawyers to PDP Dike Udenna told journalists that the court agreed that all the primaries of ADP not duly monitored by INEC are invalid so PDP succeeded in part in extent that five of the House of Assembly constituency, ADP is not entitled to field candidates as their candidates have been disqualified and declared ineligible to contest, adding that both parties have the right to contest but that is the position of the law for now.
In the meantime, Chairman of ADP in Rivers State, Christian Kendrick said in the days to come they will come up with their next line of action after consulting with their lawyers.
In another development, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has also nullified the nomination of seven House of Assembly candidates fielded by the African Democratic Congress ADC in Rivers State.
The nullification followed after the presiding Judge Justice Turaki Mohammed agreed with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State that the party did not comply with the new electoral act while conducting their primaries.
Recall that the PDP in the State took twelve House of Assembly candidates of ADC for not complying with the new electoral act.
Justice Muhammed in his judgment said INEC does not have the legal right again to publish and accept the candidacy of the seven ADC candidates because the evidence before him showed that the party failed to comply with the provisions of the new electoral law.
In the meantime, ADC Lawyer, O. Benibo in an interview with newsmen said they will study the judgment and know if they will appeal.
On his part, one of the PDP lawyers, Dike Udenna also said the court came to the conclusion that some of the House of Assembly candidates primary election conducted by ADC was improper, some were not monitored by INEC hence the court invalidated the elections.
The constituencies ADC will not field candidates are: Tai, Onelga, Etche, and Ahoada House of Assembly candidates. While Akuku-Toru 1 and 2, Port Harcourt 1,2 and 3 constituencies were not affected by the judgment.