The decision of the Court of Appeal sitting Abuja over the eligibilty of Dakuku Peterside of the All Progressive(APC) to fill a petition at the Rivers State Governorship Election sitting in Abuja has endangered the chances of the Petition filled by Hon.Dakuku Peterside and the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress.
Justice Datti Yahaya who presided over the Panel consisting of Justice Tanim Yusuf and Justice Mustapha Mohammed ordered the Tribunal to deliver a Judgement on the Preliminary objection whihc was brought by the counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commision(INEC)
Governor Wike, INEC and the PDP are contending that Dakuku was not eligible to contest the election because his party failed to give INEC 21 days notice on the holding of the governorship primary in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Already, the Court of Appeal has affirmed the decision of the Rivers State Legislative Assembly Tribunal dismissing the petitions filed by the Rivers APC candidates against the elections of two Federal Lawmakers, Senator Osinakachukwu Ideozu and Prince Nnam Obi on account of the failure of the APC to give 21 days notice on the holding of their respective primaries.
The court held that since arguments have been taken there was no reason why ruling on the matter was deferred by the tribunal.
The Court of Appeal also ordered the tribunal to rule on the application filed by the respondents seeking the dismissal of the petition because the APC served processes without seeking the leave of the tribunal.
Also, the Appeal Court directed the Tribunal to rule on PDP application seeking the dismissal of the petition on the ground that the APC petition relied on grounds unknown to the Electoral Act.
The PDP in the alternative requested the striking out of paragraphs wherein the APC Governorship Candidate made criminals allegations against persons not joined as respondents in the matter.
The Court of Appeal held that these rulings be delivered before the petition is heard on its merit.
However, the application filed by Governor Nyesom Wike on territorial jurisdiction of the tribunal failed as the Appeal Court held that the alleged insecurity in Rivers State permitted the relocation of the Tribunal.
The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa who is on vacation at Australia changed the former chairman of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal, Justice Mu’azu Pindiga . The new chairman, Justice Mohammed Ambrosa commenced hearing immediately with over 19 witnesses testifying that election did not hold in Rivers State.
What is not clear is wether the Tribunal will rule that the objection has been overtaken by event following the change in the Chairmanship of the Rivers State Governorship election Petition Tribunal,PUO REPORTS gathered that actually the Rivers State APC failed to notify INEC on the 21days as stipulated in the electoral act