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Rivers Elections: Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction to determine issues raised by APC  say lawyers 

Symbol of justice
Constitutional Lawyer, Emmanuel Anele on Kaakaki
Constitutional Lawyer, Ilemona Onoja on Kaakaki

A Constitutional Lawyer, Emmanuel Anele has declared that Rivers All Progressives Congress, APC’s,  case before the Supreme Court on the Rivers election is merely academic because the Apex Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the matter, which it had earlier ruled upon.

Speaking during Africa Independent Television (AIT) Kaakaki Programme on Tuesday,  Anele said that the Supreme Court cannot reverse itself,  having voided the primaries and congresses conducted by APC in Rivers State.
He said: “The Supreme Court decided 14 cases this year on the basis that the time the appeals were filed had lapsed. The Supreme Court I know will not oblige what the APC is asking of them. The Supreme Court can’t reverse itself in this instance, otherwise there will be no certainty.
“Unless there is a distinguishing  factor to say let us depart from our past judgment.
“The APC is not raising any new issue. It amounts to abuse of court process. The Supreme Court even yesterday struck out the suit filed by Magnus Abe to amend  processes.
“APC has never raised a new issue that will compel the Supreme Court to reverse its earlier decision,” he said.
He added: “The crux of the matter is whether the primaries conducted by APC in Rivers State are valid or not and the Supreme Court has repeatedly said that it is invalid.
“It is not even asking the Supreme Court to compel INEC to add it in the Rivers State gubernatorial election. The election has come and gone, the only way to challenge the declaration of Nyesom Wike as Governor of Rivers State is the tribunal.
“The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in the instant case before it. If you look at the prayer sought, the court is not a father Christmas. It cannot give you what you did not ask”.
The Legal Practitioner said that the game APC wants to play is to approach the Supreme Court and seek omnibus orders. He said APC wants to use such omnibus  orders to approach the Election Tribunal.
He said: “They will now use that trophy to approach the tribunal. That would have orchestrated constitutional crisis in Rivers State. As at the time the governorship election was conducted, there was no injunctive order stopping INEC from conducting election.
“The game will not favour anybody, but to truncate the wish of Rivers people.
They have voted and the results announced. Anybody going to the Supreme Court to get any reliefs that he will use as a trophy to approach the election tribunal, will not avail the person anything.
“The Supreme Court will not be blackmailed to give judgment to anybody. Their integrity is at stake, democracy is also at stake.The Court of Appeal based its judgment on the earlier consolidated judgment of the Supreme Court. How will the Supreme Court now reverse itself?
“The Supreme Court Justices should be firm and stand on their earlier judgments, so that there will be certainty in the electoral processes.
 Nobody will blackmail the Supreme Court justices.Nobody will get anything out of this. It is an academic exercise.
“Elections have been conducted and winners emerged. Anybody that is dissatisfied with the conduct of that election should approach the election petition tribunal, if you participated in that election”.
Another lawyer on the programme,  Mr Ilemona Onoja said there is absolutely nothing new in the APC applications before the Supreme Court.
He said: “Asking that it be determined on the merit , what merit?  The Court of Appeal was to determine the suit on its merit and the Supreme Court reached a decision. The judges of Court of Appeal said with the Supreme Court judgment, that APC in Rivers State can’t field candidates, it will be fruitless determining the matter.
“Going to the Supreme Court to say the Court of Appeal did not determine the matter on its merit when in actual fact the Court of Appeal based its decision on the Supreme Court is curious. It is flogging a dead horse. At some point there should be an end to litigation.”
He said there is no basis for the Supreme Court to grant  their prayers to invalidate a validly conducted election and order that they benefit from their wrong doing.
He said: “If the Supreme Court makes an order to invalidate the election and order the inclusion of APC, the judiciary will be saying it is okay to disregard the court.
“If the APC in Rivers State had refrained from conducting state congresses pending the determination of the suit, they wouldn’t have had this problem and they wouldn’t have come to this impasse.Everything APC has done thereafter is to attempt to benefit from its own violation of court orders”.

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