Polls tribunal dismisses Wike’s application
THE Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja yesterday rejected a request to set aside its order for the All Progressive Congress (APC) to inspect all the election materials used for the conduct of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike had on June 17, 2015 filed an application, praying the tribunal to set aside its earlier order of June 8, 2015.
Wike’s counsel, Emmanuel Ukala had challenged the territorial jurisdiction of the tribunal to have made such an order. In a terse ruling on the motion yesterday, the three-man panel led by Justice Justice Muazu Abdulkadir Pindiga, dismissed the application for lacking in merit as the order was made against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and not Wike.
The tribunal said: “Our order of 11th June was made against the 1st respondent (INEC) to allow the petitioner access and obtain a Certified True Copy (CTC) of all documents and materials used in the conduct of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Rivers State and we so hold.
“And also in compliance with Section 151 of the Electoral Act, our order still stands,” the tribunal declared. Last Monday, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside accused INEC of disobeying the order by the tribunal requesting the electoral body to allow them inspect election materials used for the election.”
At the last sitting, counsel to the petitioner, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) informed the court that INEC had declined to make the materials available for inspection, in total disobedience to an earlier order of the Tribunal in that direction. He had said Wike’s application through his counsel, Emmanuel Ukala, praying the tribunal to set aside it’s order on the inspection of the election materials was a calculated attempt by the respondents to delay proceedings.
“The application for setting aside the order was a decision to legalise the conspiracy between the 1st and 2nd respondents (INEC and Wike) to frustrate the order of the tribunal”, Olujimi submitted and urged the tribunal to ignore the application for lacking in merit.
Earlier, Ukala, had prayed the court to set aside the order allowing the inspection of the election materials on the grounds that the tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the petition, adding that tribunal ought to have addressed the issue of jurisdiction before exercising any judicial powers in line with Section 6 (6) of the Constitution.
Other respondents in the petition adopted the submissions of Ukala that the tribunal has no jurisdiction to make the order in question and urged the three-member panel to set it aside. Further hearing of the petition has been adjourned till July 22, 2015. The APC in Rivers State and its candidate, Peterside Dakuku dragged INEC, PDP and the governor of the state, Wike before the tribunal to challenge his victory at the election.