Tonye Cole takes Buhari campaign title after court barred Rivers APC candidates

Tonye Cole
Tonye Cole

Tonye Cole no longer addresses himself as the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate for Rivers State apparently in obedience to a recent court judgment which nullified the primary he ‘won’.

The court also barred his opponent, Magnus Abe, from parading himself as a governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A statement released on Friday by Mr Cole’s media office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, chose to address him, instead, as “The Coordinator of the campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari in Rivers State”.

Mr Cole, a wealthy businessman, resigned from the board of directors of Sahara Group of Companies in September last year to join Rivers politics.

Backed by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the national leadership of the APC, Mr Cole ‘won’ the APC governorship primary in Rivers State under controversial circumstances.

Mr Abe, a senator from the state, together with a faction loyal to him, conducted a parallel primary. The senator claimed he was the authentic governorship candidate of the party in the state.

Earlier this month, a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt nullified both primaries conducted by the two factions.

The court, presided by Kolawole Omotosho, also restrained INEC from recognising any candidate of the APC for the 2019 general elections in the state.

Mr Omotosho declared that both primaries were held during the pendency of a suit at the Rivers State High Court.

The Friday press statement from Mr Cole’s media office touched on the court judgment.

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It said the APC in Rivers State has not been outlawed by the courts from campaigning for President Muhammadu Buhari.

“What the courts have done is to place the aspirations of APC candidates in Rivers State on hold and we respect that.

“As loyal party members who are waiting for the decision of the courts, we shall campaign for President Buhari and the APC at this time. When we do, we shall not be campaigning for Rivers candidates,” the statement quoted Mr Cole to have said.

He urged Rivers people not to be dismayed by the current developments.

“Our candidates know their day will come. We shall await judicial pronouncements on the matters before them. By the grace of God, justice will prevail,” he added.

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