A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has disqualified the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Patrick Tonye-Cole over dual citizenship and non-compliance to the electoral act by his party.
Presiding Judge, Justice Emmanuel Obile in his ruling agreed with the plaintiff (People’s Democratic Party, PDP) that Tonye-Cole has dual citizenship and therefore not eligible to contest the governorship position in Rivers State.
He added that the APC primary that brought in him (Tonye-Cole) was not monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The Rivers State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party had approached the court to demand that INEC should not recognize Tonye-Cole as the governorship candidate of APC for alleged dual citizenship and that the delegates’ election that brought him did not follow due process.
Contrary to his decision on preliminary objection in a suit by APC against PDP and its Governorship candidate Siminilayi Fubara, that no court has the right to interfere in another party’s affairs, Justice Obile in the judgment against APC held that the court has jurisdiction to hear the matter and thereby directed the INEC to delist the name of the Rivers APC Governorship candidate from the electoral list for 2023 general elections.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, one of the Counsels to PDP, Dike Udenna expressed happiness over the judgment which he said means that APC has no governorship candidate for 2023 general unless a higher court says otherwise.
On his part, one of the Counsels to APC, Collins Dike expressed displeasure that the same court which disagreed with APC that no court has the right to interfere in another party’s affairs on a section of the constitution been used has turned around to say otherwise just as he revealed that APC will challenge the judgment in appeal court with the assurance that higher court will do justice in the matter.
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