Supreme Court upholds Fubara's election as Rivers State governor, dismisses Tonye Cole's appeal

Cole and Fubara

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of Tonye Cole and the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the election of Siminalayi Fubara as Rivers State governor for lacking in merit.

Affirming Fubara as the duly elected governor of Rivers State, the court held that the appellant did not prove the allegations of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, among others.

The court held that the appeal was incompetent and dismissed it.

Cole, the APC governorship candidate in the March 18, 2023 election, challenged the victory of Fubara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the ground that he did not resign as the Accountant General of Rivers State before the election.

Cole also cited alleged irregularities, non-compliance with the Electoral Act, corrupt practices, among others.

He sought the reversal of the judgements of the Court of Appeal and the Tribunal, which upheld the declaration of Fubara as the winner of the Rivers governorship election.

Cole’s case was a fallout of the Appeal Court’s decision of November 28, 2023, which dismissed his appeal for lacking sufficient and convincing evidence.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos had affirmed the election of Fubara as the Rivers State governor.

The appellate court had in a unanimous decision, affirmed the judgment of the election tribunal, dismissing four separate appeals filed by Cole, Beatrice Itubo of the Labour Party (LP), Innocent Ekwu of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), and Lulu Briggs Dumo of the Accord Party.

The APC candidate, who was present in the courtroom on Thursday, wanted the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare him the winner of the March governorship election in Rivers.

The APC candidate had wanted the court to direct INEC to declare him the winner of the poll.

Earlier in October 2023, the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had dismissed the petition of Cole challenging the election of Fubara as the governor of the state. The tribunal had dismissed the petition and said that the APC that sponsored Cole had withdrawn the petition against Fubara’s victory.

Not satisfied with the Tribunal’s decision, the APC candidate approached the appellate court, but the court affirmed the Tribunal ruling that earlier upheld Fubara’s electoral victory.

INEC had declared that Fubara was the winner of the poll. The PDP candidate polled 302,614 votes to defeat his closet rival Cole, who scored 95,274 votes, while the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Magnus Abe; and LP’s Beatrice Itubo came a distant third and fourth with 46,981 and 22,224 votes, respectively.
~Channels tv

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