Tonye Cole, an All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for governor, has been taken to court by Mr. Benard Mikko, a disgruntled contender in the just-concluded party primary in Rivers State, over an alleged violation of the Electoral Act and his (Cole’s) indictment by a panel.
As a result of Cole’s disqualification due to an alleged questionable character, as detailed in the white paper report of the Rivers State Commission of Inquiry, Mikko has filed a lawsuit at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt asking the court to prevent Cole from misrepresenting himself as the APC’s candidate for governor.
The plaintiff claimed in the lawsuit that Cole still participated in the party’s primaries despite being indicted by the panel report.
Yesterday, when the case was brought before the presiding judge, Justice Phoebe Ayua, the judge approved Usman Sule’s request to serve the defendant’s court papers by a substitute method.
Justice Ayua then put the matter on hold until July 8 while he awaited the reports of service and the outcome of the jointer motion made by the attorney for Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, another candidate who wanted to be included in the proceeding.
Mikko’s attorney, Sule, stated to reporters outside the courtroom that his client was suing Tonye Cole and the APC for violating electoral laws during the previous primary election. We can return now that the case has been adjourned. Cole, the first defendant, will be served, and once he is, his day will begin.
We are asking for the annulment of the primary because it changes the Electoral Act. Second, Cole is not a man of substance in the sense that Chibuike Amaechi and him are the subject of a panel report.
Achi Wobodo Williams, who filled in for Tuduru Edeh (SAN), a legal representative of the APC and Cole, said it was unfortunate that the plaintiff relied on a provision of the Constitution that had been repealed. But he added that they would show up on the following postponed day to reply to the applicant’s process.