Tonye Cole, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Rivers State, has rejected media reports that he had withdrawn his petition from the State Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja.
Cole is contesting the Independent National Electoral Commission‘s (INEC) decision to designate Siminalayi Fubara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the state’s governorship election on March 18, 2023.
The APC governorship candidate assured his fans and party members in the state that the petition remained “sure and steadfast” in a brief video clip shared on social media on Monday night.
Cole pledged to pursue the matter to a successful end, saying he was working relentlessly to ensure that his and his supporters’ voices were heard.
He added that despite attempts to derail the petition, he remained unafraid and determined to see it through until justice was served.
The APC governorship candidate said: “I wish to formally denounce the false rumours that have been circulating regarding our petition against the results from the Rivers State governorship election. I want to assure you that our petition remains firm and steadfast, and we will not waiver in our pursuit of justice.
“Despite attempts to undermine our efforts, I want to emphasise that we are working tirelessly to ensure that our voices are heard. We remain undeterred and resolute in our efforts to fight for what is right until justice is served.”
Meanwhile, the Rivers State APC Campaign Council has clarified that the national leadership of the party, not the state chapter, withdrew from the case before the Tribunal.
Sogbeye Eli, spokesman for the campaign council, stated in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Tuesday that the withdrawal was due to the local chapter of the party’s refusal to accept Henry A. Bello as the party’s counsel.
The statement reads in part: “The stories making the rounds since last night of the withdrawal of the petition by Architect Tonye Patrick Cole, 2023 governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State, by Sahara Reporters and other mainstream media houses refers.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the true and factual position of the status of that petition are as follows: Tonye Cole as the 1st Petitioner on record is still before the Court.
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“The All Progressives Congress as the 2nd Petitioner on record withdrew yesterday through her legal representative, Solomon Umoh, Esq.
“The withdrawal of the 2nd Petitioner yesterday follows the objection by the local Chapter of the party to being led at the Tribunal by Henry A. Bello, Esq of Counsel.
“The facts forming the grounds for the aforementioned objection bother on trust and are not unconnected with the concomitant effect of the decision of the High Court of Rivers State in the case of Ibrahim Umah & Ors v. APC in 2018 on the party’s fortunes at the 2019 general elections.”