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Court nullifies Tonye Cole, Magnus Abe’s candidacy in Rivers

Court nullifies Tonye Cole, Magnus Abe’s candidacy in Rivers

The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has given a judgement restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from presenting Tonye Cole and Magnus Abe as governorship candidates in the general elections.

The judgement was delivered on Monday.

Cole is the preferred candidate of Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transport, while Abe is the senator representing Rivers south-east.

The court also nullified all direct and indirect primaries conducted by both factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

While delivering the judgement, James Omotosho, the judge, said none of the primaries were conducted according to the law.

Following the ruling, the APC no longer has candidates for the governorship, senate, house of representatives, and state house of assembly elections.

The APC in the state had produced two governorship candidates in parallel primary elections.

A faction of the party loyal to Abe adopted direct primary election while the faction loyal to Amaechi, adopted the indirect primaries.

Delivering the judgment, Omotosho said both factions of the APC acted in disrespect of a pending suit before Chinwendu Nwogu, a judge of the state high court.

In a judgement delivered in October, Nwogu had nullified all the primary elections conducted in the state.

Omotosho said the judgment of Nwogu is yet to be set aside by an appellate court, hence, it remains valid.

He said the APC in the state could not produce candidates for governorship, national and state assembly elections while the matter was pending, noting that it is illegal for candidates to emerge from the different primaries conducted by the two factions.

“Both the direct and indirect primaries claimed to have been held by the APC are illegal and cannot stand in the face of the law,” he said.

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