From Tony John, Port Harcourt
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has disqualified the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, over dual citizenship and non-compliance to Electoral Act by his party.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state had approached the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to recognise Cole as the governorship candidate of APC for alleged dual citizenship and that the delegates’ election that brought him did not follow due process.
Delivering the judgement yesterday, Justice Emmanuel Obile agreed with PDP that the APC governorship candidate who has dual citizenship was not eligible to contest the governorship position and that the party’s primary that brought in Cole was not monitored by INEC.
Contrary to his decision on preliminary objection in a suit by APC against PDP that no court has the right to interfere in another party’s affairs, Justice Obile held that the court has jurisdiction to hear the matter and thereby directed INEC to delist the name of Cole from the electoral list for 2023 general elections.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, one of the counsels for PDP, Dike Udenna, expressed happiness over the judgement, which he said meant that APC has no governorship candidate for the 2023 general election unless a higher court says otherwise.
On his part, one of the counsels for 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 being used, has turned around to say otherwise.
Dike disclosed that APC will challenge the judgement in the Court of Appeal with the assurance that the higher court will do justice in the matter.