By Godwin Anene
A Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt has again dismissed an appeal filed by the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the ruling which annulled its wards, local governments and state congresses.
APC has approached the court seeking it to set aside the ruling of the Justice Chiwendu Nworgu of the Rivers State High Court which annulled the party’s controversial Congress in the state.
It could be recalled that the Court of Appeal had on the 12th of December, 2018, struck out the same appeal against the state high court decision for filing out of the stipulated time in the constitution.
In spite of the earlier ruling, the party had on the Tuesday, 15th January, re-approached the court of appeal challenging the ruling of the same court
APC had told the court that the lower court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter on the first instance.
But delivering the judgement on Wednesday, Justice C.N. Uwa of the visiting Appeal Court panel constituted to handle the matter, held that the matter which the lower court handled was a pre-election and ought to have been appealed and disposed off within 60 days after the judgement of the lower court.
Uwa noted that its hands are tied to go into the substantive case, stressing that a preliminary objection which bothers on the status (timing) of the case had earlier been taking by the same court.
Uwa stated that where an action is status bound it means that the court has no right to hear it, adding that the issue of filing out of time is a preliminary objection, which she said is in itself a case.
She held that the court would remain consistent in its rulings, adding that the same court had earlier struck the appeal out on the issues of time of filing.
Uwa said: “This is a pre-election matter. It has earlier been held by this same court in an appeal of the substantive matter: This court cannot seat against itself on the same matter.
“The appeal is fundamentally defective. The court cannot go into the matter, as doing so will amount to an effort in futility.
“It is unnecessary to continue on an appeal no matter the merit, which this court has held as status bound. It would be an effort in futility to continue. This appeal is hereby struck out”