Supporters of Tonye Cole, the aspirant likely to be formally announced as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, were in celebratory mood on Monday following the Court of Appeal ruling granting stay of execution of the lower court's judgement nulifying all the party's primaries in the state and restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from fielding the party's candidates in the forthcoming general election.
In January, Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had nullified both the direct and indirect primaries conducted by two factions of the party. He also restrained INEC from recognising any candidates of the APC for the 2019 general election in the state.
While a faction of the party loyal to former Governor Rotimi Ameachi had produced Tonye Cole as its candidate from its primary, the other loyal to Senator Magnus Abe produced him as its own candidate.
However on Monday, Justice Mohammed Mustapha ruled that since aall parties affected by Justice Omotosho’s judgement had appealed it it would be unjust not to grant the application to stay execution of the ruling.
The ruling means INEC is set to name Cole as APC governorship candidate in Rivers, a development that sent his supporters into wild jubilation scenes right from the court premises.