Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Monday, ordered a stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court, over fielding of candidates by the Rivers All Progressives Congress (APC).
The court presided over by Justice Ali Gumel, granted the stay of execution of the judgment of Justice Kolawole Omotoso of the Federal High Court in the Rivers state.
However, supporters of APC and its factional governorship candidate, Pastor Tonye Cole, trooped to the streets of Port Harcourt and its environs to celebrate, defying the heavy rain.
Rivers APC, through its Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, declared that the main opposition party had been vindicated by the decision of the Court of Appeal, which stayed the execution of the nullification of all primaries of the APC and also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from fielding the candidates in the February 16 and March 2 elections.
The APC said: “We have always said that the wheel of justice may grind slowly, sometimes annoyingly slowly, but surely justice comes ultimately. We believe that Monday’s judgment has vindicated APC in Rivers State.
“Now, anyone who has carefully and painstakingly followed our pending matter at the Supreme Court, especially during the last sitting before the apex court reserved ruling, will easily and safely conclude that our victory at the Supreme Court is only a matter of time.
“The key issues of representation and jurisdiction, which Justice Chiwendu Nwogu (of Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt) deliberately overlooked in tailoring his judgment to fit into a predetermined purpose, and yet bandy it as a consent judgment, will be completely deconstructed by the excellent legal minds on the Supreme Court bench. In this particular case, the end will justify our dogged efforts as we shall, once again, prevail by God’s grace.
“All Rivers APC faithful should remain resolute, as we are set to recover all that Satan has battled so hard to take away from us. INEC, by today’s Appeal Court ruling, should by now be reinstating our candidates’ names on the ballot, in line with the status quo before the pronouncement by the Federal High Court of Justice Omotoso.”
Cole, a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and a co-founder of Sahara Group, in his reaction to the ruling, expressed gratitude to God on the victory.
Governorship candidate of APC in Rivers said: “I just want to take a minute to thank the Almighty God for his grace upon us all. I know without Him, this would be totally impossible. We were up against it. We still are, but our God who has been with us throughout this journey, will see us to the end.”
The Appeal Court has stayed execution of Federal High Court’s ruling which barred the APC from fielding its candidates in the forthcoming general elections in Rivers State.
Following an appeal filed by the APC in the state to stay execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered by Omotosho, the Appeal Court granted one of its prayers and stayed execution of the judgement.
Reading the ruling, Mohammed Mustapha stated that all parties affected by Justice Omotosho’s judgement have appealed it; therefore, it will be unjust not to grant the application to stay execution of the ruling.