The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, has denied media reports that he has withdrawn his petition from the State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
Cole is challenging the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare Siminalaye Fubara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the March 18, 2023 governorship election in the state.
In a short video clip posted on social media on Monday night, the APC governorship candidate assured his supporters and party members in the state that the petition remained “sure and steadfast”.
Pledging to pursue the matter to a victorious conclusion, Cole said he was working tirelessly to ensure that his voice and those of his supporters were heard.
He stated that despite attempts to undermine the petition, he was undeterrerd and committed to it until there was justice.
The APC governorship candidate said: “I wish to formally denounce the false rumors 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 emphasize 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 APC Campaign Council in Rivers State, has clarified that it was the national leadership of the party, and not the local chapter, that withdraw from the tribunal.
Spokesman of the campaign council, Sogbeye Eli, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, said the withdrawal followed the refusal of the local chapter of the party 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.
“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.”