Rivers 2023: Tension As Mikko Heads To Court, Seeks Disqualification Of APC Governorship Candidate, Tonye Cole

A governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Hon Bernard B. Mikko is seeking the nullification of the Guber Primaries conducted in the state on May 26, 2022 which declared Arch Tonye Cole as winner.

He is also seeking the disqualification of the APC Governorship Candidate, Arch Tonye Cole.

Mikko, in a suit filed at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, accused the APC of alleged irregularities and illegalities in the conduct of the primaries which according to him, was in total violation of the Electoral Acts, Constitution of the APC as well as that of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He also alleged that APC in the conduct of the governorship primaries threw all cautions to the wind by violating Articles 7 and 9.3 of the APC Constitution and Article 15 of the APC Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the 2023 General Elections.

In the suit, marked FHC/PH/CS/94/2022 – Bernard B. Mikko (Plaintiff) Versus Arch. Tonye Cole, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC (Defendants); the plaintiff, through his Counsel, Kalat N. Jatau Esq of U. O. Sule & Co, alleged that the said primaries did not comply with all extant rules and regulations on the conduct of party primaries.

In the originating summons brought pursuant to Order 3, Rules 6 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rule 2019, the plaintiff accused the APC of violating Articles 7, 15 and 17 of the INEC Regulations for Conduct of Political Party Primaries, and was therefore not competent to conduct the said governorship primaries.

The plaintiff further wants the primaries nullified as according to him, the official list of electoral committee members, delegates and aspirants, were all absent, adding that these manifest ‘electoral malpractice’ allegedly perpetrated in favour of Arch. Tonye Cole is illegal and irregular.

He went on: “Whether or not in the face of the numerous illegalities/irregularities and the manifest electoral malpractice, in that the 2nd Defendant allocated the votes cast in favour of the Plaintiff to the 1st Defendant in the 2nd Defendant Rivers State Governorship primary election, the said primary election can be said to have been conducted in accordance with the requirement of the law”.

The plaintiff averred that APC was wrong in nomination of first defendant, Arch. Tonye Cole as party’s Candidate for the primaries as according to him, Cole was allegedly indicted by the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry for the Investigation of the Administration of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on the Sale of Valued Assets of Rivers State and Other Related Matters Under the Chairmanship of Honourable Justice George Emereji.

Among other reliefs sought by the plaintiff was, an order nullifying and setting aside the said primaries for over non-compliance with all relevant laws regulations and guidelines.

He further wants an order mandating the APC to conduct another primary election, which he insists must be transparent, fair, open and in strict compliance with the extant provisions of the law.


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