Hope rises for Rivers APC as a-court stays judgment

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The court of Appeal sitting in Rivers state on Monday stayed execution on the judgment of a federal high court in Port Harcourt stopping all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state from participating in the 2019 polls.

The development elicited wide jubilation as the news filters into the state.

The Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court had ruled that the APC following the internal party crisis rocking it, should not field candidates for the election, noting that the primaries were held contrary to a court order.

The faction of the party loyal to the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, had approached the Appeal Court praying for a stay of execution of the lower court judgment to allow them participate in the elections.

The three man appeal panel led by Justice Ali Gumel which had reserved ruling till yesterday, after hearing the matter last week held that it would be an act of injustice and unfair if the application was not granted.

Reading the ruling, Justice Yusuf Mustafa Yusuf said that the stay of execution must be granted based on the facts that the party seeking it was opposed to the judgment of the Federal High Court.

Mustafa said that the court has jurisdiction to hear the matter against the position of the respondent’s counsel, Henry Bello.

On the argument of Bello that the court cannot stay execution on the matter in which action had been completed, Yusuf ruled that it was not in the position to court to declare an event completed when the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which is a party in the matter had not affirmed such.

However, speaking with newsmen after the judgment, Mr Chimenem Jerome, counsel for APC candidates, said that with the judgment, INEC will bring back APC candidates in the list for the 2019 general election.

Meanwhile, factional APC governorship candidate in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, hailed the ruling of the court.

In a statement, Cole told his supporters not to waver in their loyalty to the party, saying his legal team was making urgent arrangement to ensure that Certified True Copies CTC of the ruling was served on INEC.

“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 shown that with God, we are already winners.”

Also reacting, the APC, in Rivers State said it had been vindicated by the Appeal Court’s ruling which granted a stay of execution of the High Court judgment barring the party from contesting the 2019 election in Rivers.

 “We have been vindicated,” Rivers APC Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone said.

The Appeal Court has granted stay of execution on the judgment of the Federal High Court which nullified all primaries of the APC and also restrained INEC from fielding the party’s candidates in the forthcoming 2019 elections.

“We have always said the wheel of justice may grind slowly, sometimes annoyingly slowly, but surely justice comes ultimately. Today’s judgment has vindicated APC in Rivers. Now, anyone who has carefully and painstakingly followed our pending matter at the Supreme Court, especially, during the last sitting before the apex court reserved ruling, will easily and safely conclude that our victory at the Supreme Court is only a matter of time.”

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