The elections tribunal hearing the petition against the election of Chief Nyesom Wike as Governor of Rivers State, Monday agreed to revisit an earlier ruling on the inspection of election materials as demanded by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
The tribunal had earlier, through an application by the counsel to the APC, Chief Olujimi (SAN) ordered that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should make available election materials to the plaintiffs for inspection, but on Monday, counsel to Wike, E. C. Ukala (SAN) brought a counter motion which on argument, convinced the tribunal as to the implications of granting the request made by plaintiff.
Considering the arguments of the respondent’s counsel, the tribunal agreed to revisit its earlier ruling on the matter pointing out that it is within its remit to set aside its own order. Consequently, Wike’s counsel, Ukala, moved a motion to set aside the order earlier granted by the tribunal for inspection of materials used during the governorship election.
The matter was adjourned to Thursday (9/7/15) for ruling on the motion as moved by Ukala.
This would be the third consecutive set-back suffered by the APC since hearing on the petition challenging the election of Wike commenced.
The first was the withdrawal of the petition filed by one Stanley Nkemka Elenwo of KOWA Party. The APC was dazed when the KOWA gubernatorial candidate announced his withdrawal from the suit against Wike.
Elenwo had shocked the main opposition APC which intended to rely on his petition, among other materials, to push its case. The KOWA candidate said he was no longer interested in challenging Wike’s election.
The second was the issue of jurisdiction which the tribunal agreed with Wike’s counsel that the issue would be decided before going into the substantive case.
When APC’s petition was called and Ukala addressed the tribunal on the need to determine the issue of jurisdiction first, hinging his argument on a number of authorities, APC counsel, Chief Olujunmi, did not raise objection to the request.
Following issues raised by Ukala concerning the subject matter and the arguments that followed, the tribunal agreed that it was necessary to address the issue of jurisdiction before going into the substantive matter.