Section 14 of the First Part of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) Sets up the Independent Electoral Commissioner (INEC).
Subsection 2(f) of Section 15 allows INEC to Monitor Political Parties as well as create Rules and Guide lines to regulate the activities of Political Parties.
This section 15 subjects INEC to the constitution and any Act of the National Assembly related to it. Invariably INEC is subject to the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
Section 87 (4) (b) of the Electoral Act is clear that properly elected and statutory delegates from all Local Governments shall vote for the emergence of a candidate to fly the flag of a political party in a Governorship election. This is for Indirect Primaries. The one version conducted by a faction of the APC in Rivers State and accepted by the APC in Abuja.
The relevant section of the APC constitution is clear on the mode for the election or selection of delegates to a primary election for Governorship. It is by Congresses from the Ward to the State level. The case of Indirect or Direct Primaries appears to be addressed by the acceptance of Indirect Primaries by the APC in Abuja.
Section 87(9) of the Electoral Act gives the Court or INEC the power to exclude a political party and her candidate from an election if the party primary did not meet the required standard of the Act.
The big question now is; considering all the judgements concerning APC and her numerous Ward and State Congresses in Rivers State, can the APC being without a State Executive Committee and Local Government Committee in the 23 local government areas of the state produce Delegates for the purpose of electing a Gubernatorial Candidate? The answer is as good as known.
The Second question is, aren't they barred by the guidelines set out by INEC to go through the whole process of having EXCOs at Ward and State level, producing delegates via Ward and State Congresses and then producing a Guber Candidate via primary elections with properly elected delegates as expected by the Act? That answer is also as good as known.
It therefore means that after the judgement of Justice Nwogu the APC in Rivers State is reasonably excluded from the Guber Contest and other electoral offices up for grabs at the 2019 General Elections.
Furthermore a look at the Guidelines INEC has set for the 2019 elections makes it impossible for APC Rivers State to remedy the situation except INEC changes its guidelines and timeline. That will of course open the flood gates. The independence of INEC is now being tested.
Over to the esteemed Legal Profession to debate.