The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reserved judgment in three separate appeals filed by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, with respect to the ongoing proceedings of the state’s Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
The All Progressives Congress and its candidate in the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, are challenging the victory of Wike in the poll.
One of the appeals challenged the June 11, 2015, ruling of the Justice Mu’azu Pindiga-led tribunal granting the petitioners permission to inspect the polling materials used for the conduct of the election.
Another one challenged the ruling of the tribunal affirming the propriety of sitting in Abuja instead of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Wike, in the third appeal, contended that the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, did not properly constitute the three-man panel of the tribunal.
Arguing the appeals, Wike’s counsel, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), and that of the PDP, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), asked the appellate court to put aside the rulings of the tribunal.
They asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the permission granted the APC and Peterside to inspect the electoral materials used for the election.
Ukala argued that it was wrong in granting permission to inspect election materials without given them adequate notice.
He insisted that the tribunal had no power to relocate its sitting from Rivers State where the disputed election was conducted to Abuja.
But Dakuku’s counsel, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeals on the ground that they lacked merit.
Olujinmi insisted that the tribunal was right in sitting in Abuja for security reasons.
He also defended order of the tribunal granting permission to the petitioners to inspect all the materials used for the disputed election.
He also contended that the tribunal, headed by Muazu Pindiga, was properly constituted in line with the provisions of the law.
The Justice Yahaya-led appellate court, after hearing the appeals, reserved for ruling.