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Nigerians misinterpreting Supreme Court ruling – Rivers APC

…says candidacy of Tonye Cole, others not imperiled

The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC) has reacted to the Supreme Court ruling, which nullified the ruling of Court of Appeal that paved way for the party to field candidates.

The party, while reacting in a statement signed by the party’s spokesman, Senibo Chris Finebone, described reports making the rounds on various media platforms as conflicting ones and “outright mischievous”.

Finebone explained that it has refused to join issues with anyone because it is the court that has in-depth understanding of the law, saying it would be wrong to be commenting on matters that are already before the court.

“Whereas the APC is reluctant to join issues with anyone when it concerns matters before the court, however, we believe that the general public deserve to be protected from calculated mischief and misinformation especially those dispensed through the social media and rumours.

“Therefore, it has become highly necessary to re-state what transpired at the Supreme Court,” he said.

He added, “Our attention has been drawn to a myriad of reports making the rounds on the social media giving conflicting, and in some cases, outright mischievous narratives misinterpreting and misrepresenting the pronouncement of the Supreme Court today, Friday, February 8, 2019 on the matter between Ibrahim Umar & 22 Ors vs Rivers APC.”

The apex court of five-man panel has said the appellate court failed to invoke relevant sections of the law in voiding the decision of the Federal High Court barring the party from participating in elections in the state.

A faction of the APC in the state had challenged the decision of the high court at the Court of Appeal Court.

Finebone’s statement continued, “Today, the apex court ruled that, in line with provisions of the Constitution of the APC, the chapter legal adviser at the time the matter commenced, Mr. Chieme Chinweikpe, rightly represented the party directly or through legal appointees of his instead of Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN who was seconded by the legal department of national headquarters of APC. This means that the judgment given by Justice Chiwendu Nworgu was a consent judgment following thereto.

“Irrespective of how we feel about the pronouncement, the Rivers State Chapter of APC has to accept that decision having come from the highest court of the land.

“However, we make haste to state that the decision on legal representation was the only matter the Supreme Court made pronouncement on today.

“We expect the apex court to rule on the all-important issue of jurisdiction of whether the State High Court of Justice Chiwendu Nworgu was right to delve into what we believe was an internal affairs of the APC with regards to primaries.

“We urge the mainstream media and innocent members of the public to resist the lure of mischievous individuals who are inundating the social media and entire cyberspace with jaundiced versions of today’s Supreme Court ruling or churning out outright fake news with a view to deceiving the public, deluding themselves with short-lived comfort and feathering their nests from their paymasters.

“We are convinced that no harm has been done to the candidacy of our governorship candidate, Pastor Tonye Cole and the others. We believe that, by the grace of God, we shall triumph and ultimately be on the ballot for the 2019 elections.

“We call on the teeming supporters of APC in Rivers State to remain calm as it will surely end in praise. All candidates of APC in Rivers State will be on the ballot and go ahead to win come February 16 and March 2, 2019.”

Meanwhile, the Rivers State APC Governorship aspirant, Tonye Cole said his attention has also been drawn to reports which suggest that Ibrahim Umar & 22 others have secured a final determination at the Supreme Court.

In a press release by the Spokesman of Cole/Giadom Campaign Organisation, Ogbonna Nwuke, he said that the facts available to the campaign organisation is that the only issue determined today, Friday, 8th February, 2019 was that of legal representation, which had been in contention.

“Based on the various conflicting headlines being carried, it is critical to state that there are other pending matters, including the substantive appeal, which is yet to be determined by the Supreme Court,” Nwuke said.

The statement further read, “Our faith in the judiciary remains unshaken. We wish to urge our numerous supporters not to panic, following the deliberate misrepresentation of facts on the social media and elsewhere regarding the outcome of today’s judgement.

“We shall surely be triumphant in the end, the statement concluded”.

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