Magnus Abe, a senator from Rivers State, has lauded the Appeal Court ruling on the All Progressives Congress (APC) crisis in the state, describing it as a “welcome development”.
The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, on Monday granted a stay of execution on the judgment of a lower court which nullified the primaries of the APC in Rivers State.
The ruling also put on hold an order which restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from having the names of APC candidates on the ballots in the forthcoming general elections in the state.
Mr Abe, who is claiming to be the authentic APC governorship candidate in Rivers, filed the lawsuits which eventually created the legal bumps on the party’s road to the elections.
The senator felt shortchanged by a faction of the APC, led by Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transport, and backed by the national leadership of the party.
“What the court did was to grant a stay in favour of the APC so that we can campaign and we can be on the ballot,” Mr Abe told PREMIUM TIMES, Monday, while reacting to the court ruling.
“We think this position is in tandem with what Nigerians expect since there was a lawful direct primary conducted by the APC in the state that has no legal entanglement such as it has bedeviled the indirect primary that was conducted in violation of court orders.”
Mr Abe said the Appeal Court did not rule on who becomes the lawful and rightful candidates of the APC.
“In fact, the court specifically refused to grant that prayer,” he said.
On the possibility of having Tonye Cole and others from Mr Amaechi’s faction stand as the candidates of the APC in the elections, Mr Abe said, “There is no way you can stretch the order of the court to accommodate something that was before the court and the court did not grant.”
He reiterated, “The issue of who are the legitimate candidates of the party has not been decided by any court.”
He spoke on the need to resolve “as quickly as possible” the issue of who is the party’s lawful candidates.
“The important thing is that there is a motion for accelerated hearing of these matters before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
“If these matters are very quickly decided, the parties should be able to know their fate before the elections,” Mr Abe said.
Mr Cole took to Twitter on Monday to react to the court ruling.
“As we celebrate today’s victory, we must not lose sight of the other hurdles we must scale to get to the Brick House,” Mr Cole said through his personal handle @TonyeCole1.