A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Thursday, disqualified the governorship candidate of the All-Progressives Congress in the state Tonye Cole, over dual citizenship. Tonye Cole is reputed to be a citizen of the United Kingdom.
The court also ruled that the APC did not comply with the provision of the Electoral Act in the delegates’ election that ushered in Cole as the candidate of the party.
The Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State had approached the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to recognize Tonye Cole as the governorship candidate of APC for alleged dual citizenship and that the delegate election that brought him did not follow due process having not been monitored by INEC.
Justice Emmanuel Obile in his judgment agreed with the PDP that Tonye Cole is not eligible to contest the governorship position.
He thereafter directed INEC to delist the name of Tonye Cole from the list of eligible candidates for the 2023 Governorship election.
The decision of the court is however contrary to its earlier ruling on a preliminary objection in a suit by the APC against the PDP and its Governorship candidate Siminialaye Fubara.
In that suit, Justice Obile had ruled that no party has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other political parties and also said that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain that case.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom counsels 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.