November 24, (THEWILL) – A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has disqualified Tonye Cole, as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.
The ruling followed a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, praying the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), not to recognize Tonye Cole as the governorship candidate for the 2023 elections.
The party had alleged that Cole holds dual citizenship (Nigeria and the United Kingdom). It also alleged that the primary election that produced him did not follow due process having not been monitored by INEC.
In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Emmanuel Obile, held that Tonye Cole is ineligible to contest the governorship position.
The court also ruled that the APC did not comply with the Electoral Act in the primary election where Cole emerged as the candidate of the party. It directed the INEC to delist his name as an eligible candidate for the 2023 Governorship election.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the PDP, Dike Udenna, expressed happiness over the judgment, which he said means that APC has no governorship candidate for the 2023 General election.
On his part, counsel to the APC, Collins Dike, said the APC will challenge the judgement at the Court of Appeal.
He said the constitution of Nigeria allows him to contest the Governorship election having been born in Nigeria.
The lawyer said Tonye Cole “voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the United Kingdom”, which does not prevent him from taking part in the election