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Court strikes out APC’s suit against PDP guber candidate as Cole accuses Wike of seeking third term

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt, Joke Falaju, Abuja
10 November 2022   |   4:57 am
A federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, yesterday, struck out a suit by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state challenging the candidature of Siminialayi Fubara as governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Tonye Cole. Photo/Twitter/TonyeCole1

Amaechi optimistic APC will win Rivers guber elections

A federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, yesterday, struck out a suit by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state challenging the candidature of Siminialayi Fubara as governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Justice Emmanuel Obile, in his judgment on a preliminary objection raised by PDP, struck out the suit over lack of jurisdiction of the court and locus standi by APC to interfere in the internal affairs of PDP.

Obile held that the suit by the APC is statute barred as it filed the case five days after the stipulated 14 days. The judge also ruled that the APC failed to establish any reasonable cause of action.

The judge also refused to go into the merit of the suit, insisting no political party has the right to sue another political party as provided for by electoral laws. He, thereafter, sustained the preliminary objection by PDP and awarded a N50,000 cost against APC in favour of PDP, its governorship candidate and running mate.

Speaking to journalists outside the courtroom, PDP’s counsel, Dike Udenna, applauded the judgment. But counsel to APC, Chimenem Jerome, wondered how the same High Court that had been delivering judgment on similar suits, where candidates of other political parties have been sacked, suddenly ruled that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain the matter. The lawyer assured that he would advise his clients on the next step.

MEANWHILE, APC governorship candidate in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, has accused Governor Nyesom Wike of surreptitiously seeking a third term in office through his anointed candidate, Fubara.

Cole, however, vowed to scuttle the alleged tenure elongation plot, saying he (Cole) possesses the right qualities to free the state from its challenges.
Cole spoke in Port Harcourt, yesterday, during the inauguration of his campaign council and presentation of manifesto.

He explained that the current administration has brought untold hardship to the people through high unemployment, despite the state’s abundant resources.

FORMER Minister of Transportation and leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, has expressed optimism that the party’s flag bearer, Tonye Cole, will win the state governorship elections in 2023.

Amaechi stated this at the inauguration of the Tonye Cole/Innocent Barikor Governorship Campaign Council and manifesto launch, yesterday, in Port Harcourt.

According to him, the poll by Atedo Peterside’s Foundation shows that APC can win the governorship in Rivers, and urged party members to come home, strategise, and go all out to win.

“I don’t know if I agree with Peterside’s ANAP Foundation poll; but if you saw his poll, you’ll know that we will win. We have not gone out to campaign; we have done nothing, and PDP is leading us narrowly. We have not campaigned since 2019, but they have been campaigning. They have a sitting governor; they’ve been spending money, and the lead is still narrow. What happens if we went out to campaign? We will beat them.”

“The poll says 37 per cent of Rivers people are undecided. What it means is that 37 per cent of them are waiting for you, because if they wanted to vote for PDP, they would have gone there since. They are waiting for you to come to them, talk to them and convince them, and they will join you, because there’s nothing new the PDP will offer them.

“We need to come back home and strategise on the way to go, and we will win,” Amaechi said.

The APC stalwart urged the party’s governorship candidate, as well as other politicians contesting in the 2023 general elections in the state to pay more attention to winning, and seek ways to make the state better, rather than indulge in malice.

“I came to tell you that the struggle is not new. We have passed through this before. We passed through it when I was to be governor; we passed through it when Buhari was going for president. But if we work together, we will win by God’s grace.

Amaechi further urged party members to be steadfast in spite of challenges, and work for the victory of the party at the 2023 polls. Cole said he would stimulate economic activities and create wealth in the hinterlands by boosting development and growth.

He said: “We will ensure citizen participation in policy making, create feedback mechanism, to enable us feel the pulse of the people, and make ourselves and our appointees accessible by the people.

“We will prioritise spending, ensure proper management and minimise waste, while pursuing economic policies that will bring long-term benefit. We will apply resources to provide sound training and state-of-the-art equipment to support the Nigeria Police and other security agencies in combating crime and ensuring law and order.”

Cole promised he would not loot the treasury, acquire criminal wealth or buy property everywhere because he is already wealthy. He condemned Wike for signing Executive Order 21, which he alleged was aimed at arm-twisting other political parties from campaigning freely in the state.

He added: “They made attempt to tarnish my integrity with spurious criminal case but their candidate has a lot of criminal cases hanging on his neck. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has declared him wanted. Only recently, the Code of Conduct Bureau invited him to come over and answer some questions.”