• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Wike wins at tribunal in Port Harcourt as Justice declares petition abandoned

Rivers’ curfew now statewide over fears of further attacks

The biggest obstacle facing Governor Nyesom Wike’s re-election seems to have been dismantled as the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal  has dismissed the petition filed by the African Action Congress (AAC) governorship candidate in the 2019 general election, Biokpomabo Awara, against Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The tribunal presided over by Justice K. A. Orjiako dismissed the petition on the grounds that it was deemed abandoned. It said paragraph 4 of the first schedule of the Electoral Act had been offended.

According to the tribunal, the petition was deemed to be technically abandoned because the AAC and its candidate failed to meet key procedural requirements pertaining to applying for pre-hearing information.

The three-man tribunal led by Orjiako declared that petition number EPT/RS/GOV/03/2019 was incompetent and therefore dismissed it.

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Earlier, the tribunal struck out applications by the AAC governorship candidate seeking that he be separated from all joint applications previously made with the party.

Recall that the AAC recently adopted Henry Bello to represent it at the tribunal after the former counsel, Tawo Tawo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), withdrew from the matter, with a notice of change of counsel filed at the tribunal.

This application came in after the AAC brought in another counsel to handle its matter at the tribunal.

The three-man panel, after going through arguments in the Awara/AAC suit against Governor Wike, ruled that all applications filed by the 1st petitioner (Tawo Tawo, former AAC counsel) were deemed struck out.

Orjiako noted that the application by the petitioner (counsel for Awara, Mustafa Ibrahim) has been found to be an abuse of court process.

The panel also struck out the application filed by the petitioner for pre-hearing of the matter.

The dismissal of the AAC governorship petition is not new under the present dispensation as the Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal also dismissed petitions in the Lagos elections on similar grounds.