The Supreme Court has set March 26 to commence hearing of the appeal seeking the determination of the authenticity or otherwise of the direct primary election conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State for the nomination of its candidates for the 2019 general election.
Senator Magnus Abe, a factional governorship candidate of the APC in the state is praying the apex court in the appeal to make a final pronouncement on the legality of both direct and indirect primary elections conducted by the two factions of the party in 2018.
When the matter came up for mentioning on Wednesday, Senator Abe’s counsel, Henry Bello, moved a motion praying the apex court to, among other prayers, grant accelerated hearing in the matter, an abridgment of time within which parties are to file their processes and a definite date for the hearing of the appeal.
The motion dated March 1, was predicated on eight grounds with an affidavit of urgency amongst which is that the matter, being a pre-election suit must by law be fully determined within 60 days.
While moving the motion, Bello prayed the five-member panel of justices of the apex court to grant his client accelerated hearing and to order parties to file and exchange their processes within the time allowed by law in a pre-election matter.
The appeal has the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC and another governorship candidate of the party , Tonye Cole along with 36 others as respondents.
INEC, represented by 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 three 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 three days within which to file his own response.
Although the APC was served with a hearing notice, it was not represented in court by either a counsel or any of its staff.