UPDATE: Tribunal Upholds Governor Wike’s Re-election
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, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP).
The Tribunal presided over by Justice K. A. Orjiako dismissed the petition on the ground that it was deemed abandoned on the ground of Paragraph 4 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act.
According to the Tribunal, the petition was deemed to be technically abandoned because the AAC and its Candidate failed to meet key procedural requirements as to applying for pre-hearing information.
The three man panel led by Justice K. A Ojiako declared that petition number EPT/RS/GOV/03/2019 was incompetent and therefore, dismissed it.
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 Mr Henry Bello to represent it at the tribunal after the former counsel, Tawo Tawo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria withdrew from the matter, with a notice of change of counsel filed the tribunal.
This application came in after the AAC brought in another counsel to handle its matter at the tribunal.
The three man panel led by Justice K. A Ojiako, 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) are struck out.
Ojiako 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 against the re-election of Governor Wike by the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal is not new under the present dispensation, as the Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal also dismissed Petitions One and Two against the election of Lagos State Governor on similar ground.