Tonye Cole, the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Rivers State, was disqualified by a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Thursday for having dual citizenship.
Tonye Cole is said to be a British citizen.
The court also ruled that the APC violated the Electoral Act by nominating Cole as the party’s candidate.
The Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party had petitioned the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission not to recognize Tonye Cole as the APC’s governorship candidate due to alleged dual citizenship and that the delegate election that brought him did not follow due process because it was not monitored by INEC.
In his decision, Justice Emmanuel Obile agreed with the People’s Democratic Party that Tonye Cole is ineligible to run for governor.
He then directed INEC to remove Tonye Cole’s name from the list of eligible candidates for the 2023 Governorship election.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, PDP counsel Dike Udenna expressed satisfaction with the decision, claiming that it means the APC will have no governorship candidate in the 2023 general election.
Collins Dike, counsel to the APC, stated that the APC will appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal.
He said that because he was born in Nigeria, the Nigerian constitution allows him to run for governor.
According to the lawyer, Tonye Cole “voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the United Kingdom,” which does not preclude him from voting in the election.