The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt has granted a stay of execution of the judgement of the Federal High Court (FHC) nullifying the direct and indirect primaries of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers and restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from fielding the party’s candidates in the forthcoming general election.
This means that the APC in Rivers State can now pick the aspirant of their choice as candidate in Rivers State. Many believe that Tonye Cole is the anointed candidate of the party and therefore, this judgement respresents a victory for him.
At a sitting of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt , Justice Kolawole Omotosho had on January 7 held that the APC conducted the indirect primaries in gross disrespect of the pending suit filed by Abe before the court, which observed that both the direct and indirect primaries were held during the pendency of the suit at the Rivers State High Court.
It subsequently restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from presenting neither Tonye Cole and Magnus Abe as governorship candidates in the general elections, leading the electoral body to exclude the party from the list of candidates for the elections released for the election on Thursday.
A faction of the party loyal to former Governor Rotimi Amaechi had produced Tonye Cole also recognised by the national secretariat of the party as its candidate from the indirect primary exercise, while the other loyal to Senator Magnus Abe produced him as its own candidate in an indirect primary it held.