Despite Supreme Court Ruling, APC insists Tonye Cole is authentic Rivers guber candidate

………commission says it is not aware of Supreme Court ruling

Okenyi Kenechi

Ahead of tomorrow’s deadline given by the Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission for submission of Forms CF001 and CF002 of the list of the governorship and state assemblies candidates by political parties, the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) has said Tonye Cole remains its governorship candidate in Rivers State for next year’s election.

The party in a statement it issued and signed by its national publicity secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, which was obtained by theportcitynews claimed the recent judgement of the apex court on the crisis in Rivers state chapter has no bearing on the primary where Tonye Cole emerged as governorship candidate and the process that produced its candidates for the state assembly.

Recall that the Supreme Court, specifically on October 22, set aside the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, which vacated a stay of an interlocutory order made by a Rivers High Court against the conduct of APC congresses in the state.

Justice Chinwendu Worgu of the Rivers State High Court had on May 11, issued an interlocutory order which barred the party from conducting congresses in the state.

But while delivering the ruling on the interlocutory appeal, Justice Centus Nweze held that the decision of the Court of Appeal was in error.

Nweze said the lower court was compelled to be guided by the judgments of the apex court, adding that the panel had to follow the law before arriving on its decision.

However, the APC claimed the judgment of the apex court would not restrain it from submitting Tonye Cole along with his running mate, Hon. Victor Giadom as its candidates in Rivers.

The statement read in part: ” In view of conflicting interpretations that have greeted the recent verdict of the Supreme Court on the contentions among our members in Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), it has become necessary to clarify that the Supreme Court’s verdict has nothing to do with the primaries conducted for the governorship and legislative positions in the state.

“Therefore, the candidature of Arch. Tonye Cole along with his running mate, Hon. Victor Giadom remains inviolate. The list of our candidates for the governorship, National Assembly, and House of Assembly have been processed by the National Working Committee (NWC) according to the INEC guidelines.

“Our party appreciates the support of the good people of Rivers State and their commitment towards the victory of our governorship candidate, Arch. Tonye Cole and other APC candidates at all levels in the 2019 elections. A progressive leadership under the APC beckons and the people of Rivers State are poised to effect a change to move the beleaguered state to a path of progress and development”.

The INEC, however, said that it was not aware of the judgment of the apex court on its Rivers State chapter.
Rotimi Oyekanmi, media aide to INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu said that the Commission was ignorant of the court judgment
He said: “We haven’t been served. It is when we have a copy of the judgment that we can take a position. “

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