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Hope rises for Tonye Cole as appeal court voids judgment nullifying all Rivers APC primaries

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The court of appeal has set aside a judgment of the federal high court which disqualified all the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state.

Tonye Cole, a former executive director of Sahara Group, had won the party’s governorship ticket during the primary in May, and INEC had recognised him, among others, as candidates of the party in Rivers for the 2023 polls.

A claimant, George Orlu, and four other persons identified as aspirants had filed a case before a federal high court in the state seeking a nullification of the party’s primaries.

In a judgment delivered in October, E.A. Obile, the high court judge, nullified the governorship primary on the grounds that the plaintiffs were unlawfully excluded from the exercise.

The court ruled that those whose names have been submitted as having been elected from the primaries should not be recognised as validly-elected candidates of the APC in the state.

Delivering judgment on Thursday, a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Muhammed Lawal-Shaibu said the respondents did not exhaust the internal party mechanism before instituting the suit.

Shaibu held that the respondents failed to participate in the congress of the APC and therefore lacked the locus standi to go to court.

The panel said the trial judge erred by refusing to join some candidates of APC who were interested parties in the suit.

The panel also said the nomination of delegates and political parties was purely internal party affairs, and that the high court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit in the first place.

The appeals by the APC, Cole, and assembly candidates were found meritorious.

Consequently, the appellate court set aside the judgment against APC and awarded the sum of N500,000 each for the three cases as cost against the appeal respondents, in favour of APC.

In a post on his social media handles following the appeal court ruling, Cole expressed satisfaction over the development.

“Yet another victory! My people, justice has prevailed again! We have had a big victory in the appeal court, upturning the first judgement that nullified the entire primaries & disqualified every APC candidate! Believe it or not, we are moving #FowardWithCourage. God dey our back, and it is very evident!” he wrote.

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Governor Adeleke Rejects Tribunal Verdict, Heads to Appeal Court

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The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke has described the judgement of the governorship tribunal as ” a miscarriage of justice”, vowing to challenge the ruling at the Court of Appeal.

Reacting to the verdict of the Tribunal from his country home, Ede, Governor Adeleke faulted the resolution of the over-voting question in favour of Mr Oyetola, calling it ” an unfair interpretation against the will of majority of voters”

While urging his supporters to remain calm, Governor Adeleke vowed to appeal the judgement at the Court of Appeal, insisting he remains the rightful winner of the July 16 election.

“I call on our people to remain calm. We will appeal the judgement and we are sure justice will be done. Let our people be reassured that we will do everything possible to retain this widely acclaimed mandate”, Governor Adeleke declared.

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Fayemi congratulates Oyetola, says tribunal judgement reflects will of the people

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Kayode Fayemi, the former Ekiti governor, has congratulated Gboyega Oyetola, ex-governor of Osun, over his victory at the governorship election petition tribunal.

In a statement issued on Friday by Ahmad Sajoh, head of his media office, Fayemi said the judgement is a projection of the will and preference of the people of Osun.

Fayemi also commended Oyetola for devising peaceful legal means in the reclamation of his mandate.

“I am happy with the tribunal’s decision and sure that it reflected the will and preference of the majority of the people of Osun State. I commend Governor Oyetola for using peaceful legal means to reclaim his mandate,” the statement reads.

BODEX BLOG had earlier reported how the Osun governorship election petition tribunal sacked Adeleke as governor of the state.

Delivering judgment, two out of the three-member panel of the tribunal held that the petitioner was able to prove that there was over-voting in some of the polling units.

Consequently, the majority judgment of the tribunal ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Adeleke and issue a fresh one to Oyetola as the duly elected governor of Osun.

Reacting to the development, Adeleke described the judgement as “a miscarriage of justice” adding that it is “an unfair interpretation against the will of majority of voters”.

“I call on our people to remain calm. We will appeal the judgement and we are sure justice will be done,” he had said.

“Let our people be reassured that we will do everything possible to retain this widely acclaimed mandate.”

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APC expels Ita Enang, Buhari’s ex-aide, over anti-party activities

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom state has expelled Ita Enang, a former special adviser to the president, over “anti-party activities”.

The expulsion follows recommendations from eastern ward 2 – Enang’s ward – in Ibiono Ibom LGA of the state.

In a letter dated January 24, the state working committee of the APC led by Stephen Ntukekpo, chairman of the party, ratified the ward’s recommendations expelling him.

“The anti-party activities among others include his indulgence with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Akwa Ibom State, and his willful but unlawful disobedience of the directives of our great party, the APC,” the letter reads.

“After a free and fair gubernatorial primary election conducted by the party which he lost without showing a good spirit of sportsmanship, Senator Ita Solomon Enang had engaged in endless litigation against the candidate who won and the party.

“In the process, fully doing the bidding of the PDP to put a clog in the wheel of our progress as a party. The clandestine meetings he holds with the opposition party, the PDP, and after such meetings, drumming support for them, are not without notice by his vigilant ward and chapter officers of our great party.

“Consequently, I write on behalf of the state working committee (SWC) to ratify the decision of the disciplinary committee of the All Progressives Congress; that, Senator Ita Solomon Enang, be and is hereby expelled from the All Progressives Congress.”

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