A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Thursday disqualified the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tonye Cole.
The court’s ruling followed a suit filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which claimed that delegates that elected Cole at the APC Rivers governorship primary election were not democratically elected.
In his ruling, Justice Emmanuel Obile also agreed with the PDP that Cole, being a UK citizen also, is not eligible to contest the governorship position.
He thereafter directed INEC to delist 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 ruled that no party has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other political parties. He also said that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain that case.
Speaking to reporters 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.
Counsel to the APC, Collins Dike, said the APC would challenge the disqualification of Cole 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 Cole “voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the United Kingdom” which does not prevent him from taking part in the election.