The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC is saddened that despite his earlier ruling to stand down the matter until the appeal questioning the jurisdiction of his court is determined by the Appeal Court from October 12, Justice Lambo Akanbi, this morning, handed out ruling on a matter that was awaiting a decision of the Appeal Court.
Without any hearing notice to parties except, perhaps, to the PDP, Justice Akanbi presiding over Federal High Court 1 in Port Harcourt commenced sitting this morning and quickly handed down a ruling in respect of a matter between PDP and other parties including the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission [RSIEC] voiding the election of 22 Local Council Chairmen and Councillors in Rivers State. He claimed to have earlier ordered that the elections should not hold.
However, that position by Justice Akanbi is far from what transpired in the matter.
The truth of the matter remains that there is a pending appeal on the substantive case in which same Justice Akanbi on the 29th of April gave as reason for adjourning the matter sine die until the appeal is dispensed with beginning from 12th October. How come Justice Akanbi decided to bring forward the matter without even serving hearing notices to the parties? Why does Justice Akanbi want to ambush and foist on the Court of Appeal a situation of hopelessness? What business does Justice Akanbi have in reopening the matter other than fragrant display of judicial rascality?
It is important to re-iterate here that APC applied to join in the matter which the Judge turned down and APC immediately proceeded to appeal that refusal to be joined and that appeal is also pending. Why has Justice Akanbi acted in a manner aimed at frustrating that appeal?
As a law-abiding party, the APC would like to appeal to the elected Chairmen, Councillors and its numerous members across Rivers State to disregard any ruling of any court other than that of the Court of Appeal which will sit on October 12, 2015 of which notice of hearing has been served on all parties.
More so, APC is not bound by the court ruling handed down today by Justice Akanbi because APC duly applied to join in the matter and when the learned Justice refused the joiner application, the party proceeded to appeal that refusal, an appeal that is still pending at the Court of Appeal. Why did Justice Akanbi not wait for the Court of Appeal ruling on the APC application before proceeding with the matter? Therefore, the APC will wait and abide by the decision of the Court of Appeal, in line with the earlier Order of Justice Akanbi himself that the matter can only be reopened after it has been dispensed with by the Court of Appeal which has already served all parties notice of hearing.
The APC would like to advise Governor Nyesom Wike against misleading himself through curious court rulings to act outside the rule of law. The Governor should be reminded that the Order of the Nigerian Industrial Court sitting in Yenagoa restraining him and other parties from tampering with the elected Local Government Chairmen and Councils is still subsisting. Let him hold himself responsible for any action that may result from any ill-advised foray into the hallowed arena of justice on this matter.
The APC would also like to advise the Governor to put to good use the loans he has so far collected from banks and not running around courtrooms and chambers with it in search of judicial officers to compromise. The Governor should quickly discard the toga of a governor who goes about compromising and distracting judges and destabilising the judicial system. It does not matter whether his tenure will be for only 2 or 3 months, Rivers people deserve value for every of their kobo.
Chris Finebone State Publicity Secretary
Thurs, July 9, 2015