(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – The hope of Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to participate in the 2019 elections came alive Monday when the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt gave its blessing to the prayer of the party for a stay of execution in the judgment of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt excluding Tonye Cole, governorship candidate, and other candidates in the 2019 elections for conducting its congress in disobedience to a subsisting order of a High Court.
In his ruling on Monday, Justice Mohammed Mustafa of the Court of Appeal said it was unfair to exclude the APC and its candidates from the elections, even as he also noted that the contending parties in the matter were in agreement in the demand for stay of execution request.
With the judgment of the Appeal Court, the jubilant APC and its candidates have promised to commence campaigns immediately to regain lost grounds while waiting for the eligibility suit coming up today, Tuesday.
It would be recalled that a factional governorship candidate of the APC in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe, had gone to court demanding that he be declared the candidate of the party instead of Tonye Cole, but his prayer was dismissed at the High Court. The matter comes up on Tuesday at the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt.
Which ever way, the APC in Rivers State has crossed a major huddle barring it and its candidates from participating in the 2019 elections, a development many observers say has broadened the scope of competition for the votes of the electorates in the state.