10 Jul 2015

Rivers Governorship Election Tribunal grants APC's Dakuku Peterside’s request to inspect election materials

The Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Thursday reaffirmed its ex parte order made on June 11, 2015, granting permission to the All Progressives Congress and its candidate in the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, to inspect the electoral materials used for the poll.

Peterside and the APC had on May 3, 2015, filed their petition before the tribunal to challenge the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Nyemson Wike, in the poll.

The Justice Mu’azu Pindiga-led tribunal, in a ruling on Thursday, dismissed Wike’s application asking for the setting aside of the June 11, 2015 order.

Wike had argued that the tribunal’s order was wrongly made and asked that the tribunal could alternatively allow its agent to participate in the inspection to be undertaken by the petitioners.

He also asked the tribunal to vary the order in such a manner that the petitioners would not be allowed to make copies of some of the materials.

The PDP supported Wike’s application, while the Independent National Electoral Commission said it would await the outcome of the application to decide whether or not to obey the order for inspection.

Ruling on Thursday, Justice Pindiga rejected Wike’s application on the grounds that it lacked merit.

The judge noted that the order made on June 11 was in accordance with the provision of Section 151 of the Electoral Act and was directed at INEC, and not Wike.
The judge ruled, “There is the need for us to clarify the order we made on June 11. The order was made against INEC to allow the petitioners access, inspect and obtain the certified true copies of election materials in respect of the governorship election in the state.

“The order was made in accordance with the provision of Section 151 of the Electoral Act. The order still stands.”
He adjourned till July 22 for the commencement of the pre-hearing session in the petition.

During the hearing of Wike’s application on July 6, 2015, Peterside and the APC had accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of frustrating their bid to inspect the electoral materials used for the poll.

Credit: Ade Adesomoju/Punch

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