The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, has urged his supporters to remain calm following the annulment of the party’s primaries by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.
Last Tuesday, Justice E.A. Obile nullified the primaries of the state APC in a matter filed by one George Orlu and four other aggrieved members of the party.
In the lawsuit, the people who were upset claimed to have bought nomination forms and asked the court to throw out the APC primaries in the state because they were left out of the process.
In his ruling, Justice Obile held that the aggrieved persons were shut out of the primaries unlawfully, adding that the process amounted to nullity.
Obila further agreed in the judgment with the plaintiffs that they were wrongly excluded in the process of participating in the party primaries and, therefore, ruled that all those elected from the primaries stand nullified and should not be recognized as candidates.
Cole, the party’s candidate for governor, has told his supporters to stay calm and assured them that APC will still be on the ballot in the state’s elections in 2023.
In a statement on Friday, the party said that the candidate has filed an appeal against the decision.
According to the statement, “Tonye Patrick Cole, the Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, has appealed the ruling nullifying the APC primaries conducted in Rivers State by the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.”
“On October 25, 2022, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, in its decision, ruled in favour of the claimant, George Orlu, and four other persons who claimed to have been unlawfully excluded from participating in the APC governorship primary election. This led to the nullification of the APC primaries, disqualifying Tonye Cole and Innocent Barikor as candidates in the 2023 gubernatorial elections of Rivers State. ”
Cole, who has a strong respect for the court system, did not agree with the decision to cancel the APC primaries in Rivers State.
He said that the claimant’s request to throw out the election was “selfish and cowardly” because none of them were registered members of the party when they brought the case to court.