Cole vows to pursue petition, despite APC’s withdrawal

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ALL Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, has vowed to pursue his petition against the declaration of Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Sim Fubara as winner of the governorship poll, despite his party’s withdrawal from the suit.

Cole, in a Twitter post on Tuesday, May 23, also dismissed reports that he has withdrawn the petition he filed to challenge the outcome of the March 18 governorship election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced Fubara of the PDP as the winner of the governorship poll in Rivers State with 302,614 votes.

Opposition parties expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of the election, and in April, Cole and the APC filed petitions at the tribunal, challenging the result declared by INEC.

However, on Monday, May 22, the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal dismissed the petition lodged by the APC after its legal representative withdrew from the case.

The tribunal witnessed a dramatic turn of events when the APC sought to change its counsel in the petition against the PDP and its candidate, Fubara.

At the commencement of the proceedings, Solomon Umoh, the counsel for the APC, informed the tribunal of his intention to take over as the party’s legal representative, citing a motion for a change of counsel that had been submitted to the tribunal.

Umoh further requested that the party’s name be removed from the petition as applicant.

Jibrin Okutepa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who previously served as counsel for Cole and the APC, expressed surprise at the new development, claiming that he had not been informed by the party.

Despite Okutepa’s objection, the three-member tribunal led by Cletus Emifoniye granted the application for a change of counsel.

The panel also acceded to the motion, striking out the name of the APC as a petitioner.

But, Cole, in a brief video posted on his Twitter account on Tuesday, debunked reports that he has withdrawn the petition.

In the one minute video, Cole described the reports as unfounded, affirming that his petition against the ruling party in the state remains strong and unwavering.

He said despite the PDP’s several attempts to undermine his cause by disseminating false information, he will not be dissuaded from pursuing justice.

He vowed to remain undeterred and resolute in his fight for justice.


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