By Adeleye Kunle
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Friday disqualified 16 Rivers State House of Assembly candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, ahead of the 2023 general elections. The court, however, upheld the candidacy of 16 state constituencies of the APC.
The candidates cleared by the court to participate in the general elections are those of Emohua, Ahoada East 1 and 2, Ikwerre, Omuma, Ogu Bolo, Bonny, Asari Toru, Akuku Toru 1 and 2, Ogba Egbema Ndoni 1 and 2, Opobo-Nkoru, Abual-Odua, Oyigbo and Degema constituencies.
The constituencies and their candidates disqualified are those of Andoni, Etche 1 and 2, Tai, Gokana, Eleme, Port Harcourt City 1, 2 and 3, Khana 1 and 2, Okrika, Ahoada West and Obio-Akpor 1 and 2 constituencies.
The presiding judge, Justice Turaki Muhammed in his judgment dismissed a preliminary objection by the APC, on the issue of jurisdiction and locus standi and also ruled that the suit was not status barred.
Justice Muhammed held that the PDP was able to prove to the court that the primaries of 16 APC state Assembly candidates were not monitored by Independent National Electoral Commission.
Speaking shortly after the judgment, counsel to the APC, Emenike Ebete and that of the candidates, Chimenem Jerome, vowed to appeal against the judgment of the High Court.
The judgment came 24 hours after the Federal High court in Port Harcourt dismissed a similar suit by the APC against the PDP House of Assembly candidates where it ruled that the court lacks the jurisdiction to hear the suit
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