By Uche Amunike
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 2023 election in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, has appealed the judgment of the State Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the victory of Governor Siminalayi Fubara, with the objective that the Appeal Court will overturn the judgment.
Spokesperson of the APC in Rivers State, Darlington Nwauju made the confirmation while speaking with newsmen, Tuesday, in Port Harcourt. He explained that all records of the appeal had already undergone compilation and transmitted to the right quarters, while a suit number has been allocated, as well.
Hear him: ‘I can confirm to the media today, October 24, 2023, that our governorship candidate, Pastor Tonye Cole, has entered an appeal against the ruling of the Governorship and National Assembly Tribunal for Rivers State.’
‘The records of this particular matter have been compiled and transmitted and the suit number allocated. The suit number is CA/ABJ/EP/Gov/RV/121/2023.’
He expressed his hope that not only the judiciary, but also the Court of Appeal would be able to deliver justice to the people of Rivers State and towards the memories of everyone that was killed, owing to their political beliefs for following or supporting the APC in the state.’
Mr Nwauju’s words: ‘We do pray and hope that the Court of Appeal and indeed the judiciary will be able to serve justice to the people of Rivers State and to the memories of all those who were killed for their political belief for following and supporting the APC in Rivers State.’
He also prayed that the court would grant them justice, while assuring that the APC, as a law-abiding political party, would always abide by any decisions reached by the court.
However, he frowned against some of the conditions by which the tribunal dismissed the petition brought before it. Arguing that they neither made sense nor complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
He stated: ‘We want to draw attention to the fact that some of the grounds for dismissing the petition that was entered at the tribunal which was the court of first instance are grossly unacceptable and do not make sense even to the common man, giving the facts that the Constitution has clearly and indeed the Electoral Act, Section 133 Subsection 1 has given fillip to candidates of political parties to challenge outcomes of electoral matters.’
He argued his points on the grounds that they did not have an independent right different from that of political parties, therefore, the tribunal that deliberated over their case, informed Nigerians that Tonye Cole did not have the right, in any capacity, to challenge the results of the governorship election in Rivers State.
According to him, this was not in tandem with what the 2022 Electoral Act (as amended) has stated and totally against what it spells out in clear terms, saying ‘We do hope and pray to get justice served.’