The legal battle for the soul of Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) notched further at the Supreme Court, Abuja, Thursday, as the apex court has slated March 26 for hearing in the appeal seeking determination of the authenticity or otherwise of the direct primary conducted by the party in the state for the nomination of its candidates for the 2019 general elections.
The feud between the two factions of Senator Magnus Abe and Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaeche, caused the party not to field candidates in the just concluded elections in the state.
Meanwhile, Senator Abe is praying the apex court to make a final pronouncement on the legality of both direct and indirect primary polls conducted by the two factions of the party last year.
At yesterday’s proceedings, Senator Abe’s counsel, Henry Bello, moved a motion praying the apex court to among other reliefs, grant accelerated hearing in the matter, abridgment of time within which parties are to file their processes and a definite date for hearing of the appeal.
The application, predicated on 8 grounds, has an affidavit of urgency among which is that the matter being a pre-election matter must by law be fully determined within 60 days.
While moving the motion, Bello prayed the 5 man panel of the apex court to grant his client accelerated hearing and to order parties to file and exchange their processes within time allowed by law for a pre-election matter.
Respondents in the appeal are; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC and another factional governorship aspirant, Tonye Cole, along with 36 others.
Counsel to INEC, Mathew Anyim, told the court that the electoral body has chosen to be neutral in the matter.
Celestine Agidi, who represented Tonye Cole and his team did not object to the motion but however pleaded that 24 hours will not be sufficient for him to file his brief of argument.
In a ruling, the presiding Justice, Mary Odili, granted the 3 prayers of the appellant and adjourned hearing in the matter till March 26.
Justice Odili also ordered Cole and other respondents to file their brief of argument within three days, while the appellant was granted 3 days within which to file his own response.
The APC was not represented in court.