The Court of Appeal has granted a stay of execution on a ruling by the High Court nullifying the Primary Election of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State.
The ruling followed an appeal filed by the APC in the state to stay execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered by Justice Kolawole Omotosho.
The Appeal Court granted one of its prayers and stayed execution of the judgment.
Justice Mohammed Mustapha, who read the judgment, stated that all parties affected by Justice Omotosho’s judgement have appealed it and therefore it will be unjust not to grant the application to stay execution of the ruling.
The judgment was promptly praised by the APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole.
In a statement released in Abuja, Cole said the party is making urgent arrangement to ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission is served with the ruling.
Cole described the ruling as victory for the people of Rivers State, while asking his supporters to be vigilant and know that the battle is not yet over.
He said in the statement: “I just want to take a minute to thank the Almighty God for his grace upon us all. I know without Him, this would be totally impossible. We were up against it. We still are but our God who has been with us throughout this journey will see us to the end.
“I want to spare a thought for the brave judges and the entire judiciary for simply standing firm on the side of justice. We have faith in you. To all our supporters and leaders in the APC, I want to say a big thank you for keeping the faith. The times have been tough – I know, but you have showed that with God, we are already winners.
“To my Rivers people, fear not. Nothing good comes easy. This is but one giant step to the Promised Land.
“We have taken immediate steps to serve INEC by tomorrow with the ruling which will see APC back on the ballot box in time for the elections.”
A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, two weeks ago, nullified the direct and indirect primary elections conducted by two factions of the APC in Rivers State.
Justice Omotosho said both factions of the APC acted in disrespect of a pending suit before a Port Harcourt High Court.
An APC governorship aspirant, Senator Magnus Abe, and other party members had approached the court, presided over by Justice Chinwedu Worgu, challenging their alleged exclusion from the primaries.
Abe and his supporters had alleged high-handedness and irregularities in the planned conduct of the party primaries.
Justice Omotosho held that the APC in Rivers State could not produce candidates for governorship, national and state assembly polls, while the matter was pending.
According to him, it is illegal for candidates for the 2019 elections to emerge from the two primaries conducted by the two factions.
The two primaries as claimed by the factions were held during the pendency of the matter at the state high court.