Rivers APC Governorship Aspirant Drags Cole to Court over Electoral Act Violation
Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
An aggrieved Governorship Aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Mr. Bernard Mikko, has dragged the Governorship Candidate of the Party, Mr. Tonye Cole, to a Federal High court in the state over alleged violation of the electoral act and indictment of a panel report against him (Cole).
Mikko is one of the APC governorship aspirants in the just concluded party’s primaries in Rivers State.
In the suit before the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Mikko sought the leaf of the court to restrain Cole from parading as the governorship candidate of APC and his disqualification for alleged questionable character as contained in the white paper report of Rivers State’s commission of inquiry.
The applicant in the suit argued that despite the indictment of the panel report, he went ahead to contest the party’s primaries.
When the matter was mentioned in the court yesterday, the Presiding Judge, Justice Phoebe Ayua, granted leaf of application by counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Usman Sule, to serve the defendants the court process through substitute means.
Justice Ayua, thereafter, adjourned the matter till July 8, 2022, for reports of service and hearing on application for jointer by counsel to Ojukaye Flag-Amachree who is seeking to be joined in the matter.
Speaking to journalists outside the courtroom, Counsel for Mikko, Mr. Usman Sule, explained, that “my client is suing Tonye Cole and INEC for not conforming to the electoral acts in the last primary election of the party.
“The court has adjourned for us to come back. We are to serve Cole, the first defender, once he is served, his day starts to run, we are seeking for that primaries election to be nullified because it altars the electoral act.
Secondly, Cole is not a man of substance to the extent that there is a panel report against his person and Amaechi. Case has been adjourned to July 8,” Sule explained.
On his part, one of the Legal Representative of the APC and Cole, Mr. Achi Williams, who stood in for Tuduru Edeh (SAN), said that “it is unfortunate that the plaintiff is relying on a session of the constitution that has been deleted”, but assured their willingness to come back on the next adjourned date to respond to the process by the applicant.
He said: “The case is before the court. When we present our argument, the court will see reason why this case shouldn’t have been filed in the first place. What transpired in court today was that preliminary issues were taken, he has not been able to serve the candidate of the first defender, who is the candidate of APC, and so the court granted him exparte prayers to serve the first defender by substituted means.
“So once that is done, we will take it up from there. They are relying on the position of the Constitution, which has been deleted from the court. More importantly, they are talking about which paper of government, the law establishing the commission of enquiry has said clearly that any report from that panel cannot be used in any court of law whether is criminal or civil case,” Cole’s counsel explained.