The All Progressives Congress (APC) will not be fielding candidates in Rivers State at all levels for the 2019 general elections and that decision is final, according to chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Back story: At INEC’s daily press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, Yakubu said the commission will obey the pronouncement of the Supreme Court as the country’s highest court.
“As for APC in Rivers, I think the Supreme Court has made a number of pronouncements on that matter and for that reason, the commission has taken its decision going by the judgement of the Supreme Court,” Yakubu said.
He pointed out that there isn’t any litigation beyond the Supreme Court, and so when that court makes a pronouncement, all agencies and authorities in the Federal Republic of Nigeria must abide by it.
“And so, the commission as a law abiding institution, will always abide by the judgement of courts so that is the situation for Rivers State. There’s nowhere else to go. We’ll go by the judgement of all courts, but when it comes to the Supreme Court, that is the end of all litigation,” he said.
APC had tried everything in the books to make INEC enlist its candidates. They have accused Yakubu of bias, they have written a letter, said the elections won’t hold if they are excluded, among others. So far, nothing has worked with just three days to the first round of elections.
Why it matters: This is a big setback for the APC even for the presidential election. If the APC is not included for down ballot elections, will party members be motivated enough to come out on Election Day and vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in a state where he got less than 5% of the votes in 2015? It also represents a big blow for former Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who’s the APC leader in the state. Amaechi had hoped to use his proximity to the central government to mastermind a win for the APC the same way the current governor Nyesom Wike did it in 2015 when he was a minister in the Goodluck Jonathan government. Unless something happens over the next two weeks, the PDP is expected to have smooth sailing in Rivers.