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2023: Mikko drags APC, guber candidate Tonye Cole, INEC to court

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Bernard Mikko 1

Rivers State 2023 governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Tonye Cole has been dragged to court over alleged violation of the electoral act.

APC former governorship aspirant, Bernard Mikko, had filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt against Cole, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over alleged non- compliance with electoral act.

Mikko is seeking a court order to restrain Cole from parading himself as the party’s flag bearer.

The plaintiff is also seeking Cole’s disqualification for alleged questionable character as contained in a white paper report of the Rivers State commission of inquiry.

When the matter was mentioned earlier Presiding Justice Phoebe Ayua granted an application by the counsel of the plaintiff to serve the defendant a court process through substituted means.

Justice Ayua thereafter adjourned the matter to 8th of July, 2022 for reports of service and hearing on application by counsel to a former governorship aspirant of the party, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree seeking to be joined in the matter.

Counsel to Mikko, Usman Sule while speaking to Journalists outside the court explained why his client was in court.

“He (Mikko) is suing the APC, he is suing Tonye Cole and suing INEC for not conforming to the electoral Act in the last primary election.

“We are seeking for that election to be nullified. That it is altering against the electoral Act and the constitution of Nigeria.

“Two, Tonye Cole is not a man of substance to the extent that there is a panel report against his person, himself and Rotimi Amaechi. So that is the point we are canvassing here,” he said,

On his part, one of the legal representatives of the APC and Tonye Cole, Achi Williams, who stood in for Tuduru Edeh, SAN, said it was unfortunate that the plaintiff was relying on a session of the constitution that has been deleted.

He, however, said they would return on the next adjourned date to respond to the process by the applicant.

“What transpired in Court today (Tuesday) was that preliminary issues were taken. He still has not been able to serve the first defendant, who is the candidate of the APC.

“So, the court granted him ex parte to serve the first defendant by substituted means. So once that is done, when we come on the next day, we will take it up from there.

“They are also talking about the white paper. The law establishing the commission of inquiry that empowers a governor to set up a panel of inquiry has said clearly that any report from that panel cannot be used in any court of law, whether for criminal or civil case”.

It would be recalled that Mikko came 5th at the governorship primaries.