The proceedings of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja were stalled on Monday following a report to the three-man panel that the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, had directed that all the rulings reserved by tribunal should be delivered before going ahead with the hearing of the petition.
The All Progressives Congress and its candidate in the April 11, 2015 governorship election, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, had filed their petition before the tribunal challenging the declaration of Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party as the winner of the poll.
At the beginning of the Monday’s proceedings when the petitioners were expected to continue calling their witnesses, lawyers to Wike and other respondents informed the tribunal of a last Saturday’s ruling of the Court of Appeal directing that the tribunal should deliver its rulings on the respondents’ motions before going on with the hearing of the petition.
Some of the motions sought the dismissal of the petition.
The petitioners’ lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), argued that the tribunal could not rely on the oral report of the Court of Appeal’s ruling when no one had sighted the certified true copy of the said order.
The new chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mohammed Ambrosa, agreed with the argument and requested that the CTC of the appellate court’s ruling be filed before the court on Tuesday, so that the tribunal would determine what step to take next.
The former chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mu’azu Pindiga, had directed that rulings on some of the respondents’ motions, which had to do with the content of the main petition, would be taken with the judgment of the tribunal after hearing the petition on merit.
So far, the petitioners had called 22 witnesses since Monday when they opened their case.
The petition filed in June had been bogged by series of interlocutory applications filed by the respondents.
Apart from Wike, other respondents to the petition are the Independent National Electoral Commission and the PDP.