By Chris Finebone
It is now common knowledge that the APC had a string of favourable rulings at all the election petition tribunals today sitting at Abuja. From the matter of locational jurisdiction of the panels to the now vexed issue of 21 days notice to INEC for party primaries, the APC candidates all got positive rulings.
It is of immense significance to point out, at this juncture, that about a fortnight ago, one of the tribunals ruled that the petitions of Dr. Dawari George and Hon. Lucky Odili did not meet the time requirement as specified in the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, an otherwise pre-election matter.
Following this ruling, the Rivers State Chapter of the PDP went on air to announce that same rulings awaited all petitions by APC candidates before the various tribunals.
Today, the APC is glad to state that the particular tribunal that handed that ruling on the matters of Dr. Dawari George and Hon. Lucky Odili, having realised the grave error it committed with those rulings, now ruled that the issue at stake was actually a pre-election matter and therefore dismissed the objection of Betty Apiafi in the matter of Ahoada East/Abual Odua Federal Constituency involving Hon(Mrs) Betty Apiafi and APC Candidate, Hon.Robinson Nnamdi Ewor.
The Tribunal maintained that matters regarding errors during primaries are pre-election matters, and therefore the Tribunal was not constituted to look into such matters, but disputes arising from the conduct of the election.
The Tribunal must have also taken advantage of a recent Kwara State appeal court ruling that all such matters are pre-election issues that are not within the scope of work before election tribunals.
Therefore, a number of things are now clear from the present situation.
The matter of 21 days notice to INEC for Primaries has been confirmed a pre-election matter which is beyond the adjudication of the election petition tribunals. It also means that none of the petitions of the APC candidates in Rivers State is in danger of disqualification on the basis of such a pre-election requirement at the tribunals. Most importantly, it confirms that the ruling on the matter reserved for Wednesday with regard to the motion by Gov. Nyesom Wike and the PDP against Dr. Dakuku Peterside and the APC is likely to suffer a dismissal as no proper ruling on same matter under same circumstances can go in a different direction. Yet again, it serves notice that Hon. Dawari George and Hon Lucky Odili will have the rulings on their matter reversed as the appeals have already been filed.
The APC would like to appeal to our leaders and members to continue to remain steadfast in our determination to reclaim our individual and collective mandates taken away by the Philistines of our time who are already plundering our commonwealth while threatening us with violence
Rivers State APC Publicity Secretary