Election panel orders three parties to serve Wike notice
Following motions filed by the African Democratic Party (ADP), Labour Party (LP) and African Action Congress (AAC), the Rivers State governorship election petition tribunal has granted their request to serve Governor Nyesom Wike through substituted service.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Governor Wike, who stood for the polls under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winner of the gubernatorial election.
Counsel to ADP governorship candidate, Dalapo Attoni, told the Justice Umar Dogon-Daji-led tribunal that efforts to serve Wike notice of the petition already filed before the tribunal had failed before now.
Attoni said since time was of the essence, the ADP standard bearer, Victor Fingesi, opted to file the motion to seek the tribunal’s approval to serve Wike, who is second respondent through substituted service.
He also filed another motion for an order for INEC to grant his client unrestrained access to election materials used for the election so that a forensic team could thoroughly examine them.
After hearing the motions, Justice Dogon-Daji, who had initially expressed reservation whether Attoni will be allowed to paste notice of service at Government House, Port Harcourt, later granted the request based his (Attoni’s) insistence.
Alternatively, the tribunal ordered that Wike could also be served through courier, but the panel adjourned ruling on the motion for INEC to allow the ADP access to the election materials till today.
It also granted the motion filed by the AAC governorship candidate, Biokpomabo Awara, who was represented by his counsel, Chijoke Tasie, to service Wike by pasting it on PDP Secretariat in Port Harcourt.
Tasie told journalists that the motion of service was necessitated by failure to serve the governor.
“With the nature of tribunal, time is of the essence. So, what we are doing now is that we don’t want delay. We want to ensure that we cover up the time. We will serve Wike through the PDP Secretariat,” he said.
It, however, directed the Labour Party to serve the governor through substituted service.