PDP suffers setback in battle to disqualify APC’s Patrick Tonye Cole from Rivers guber race

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has suffered another setback in its legal battle to get the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its Governorship candidate, Patrick Tonye Cole disqualified from the 2023 gubernatorial election in Rivers State.

Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed PDP’s suit instituted against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC and Cole for want of diligent prosecution.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1902/2022, PDP had asked the Federal High Court for an order setting aside the October 4, 2022 publication of names of Cole and APC from the list of eligible candidates for Rivers State gubernatorial election.

The party also sought another order prohibiting Cole and APC from parading or holding themselves out as eligible candidates for the March 11 Governorship election.

PDP claimed in the suit that the APC breached sections 285 (9) of the 1999 Constitution and 30, 32 and 73 of the Electoral Act 2022 by submitting the nomination form of Tonye Cole manually as against uploading through the online Nomination Portal of INEC as prescribed by law.

On the grounds of the alleged infraction of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, PDP demanded that both APC and its Governorship candidate be kicked out of the election in the interest of justice and fairness.

However, when the suit was called, neither the PDP nor its counsel was in court to argue the case and no information or excuse was offered for the absence.

Justice Ekwo while checking the case file discovered that PDP and its team of lawyers have been absent from court three times without any explanation.

The Judge said he deemed that PDP has opted to abandon the matter and that there was no compelling reason to allow the suit to drag any further.

Justice Ekwo subsequently dismissed the suit in its entirety.

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