The tribunal had, in a judgment delivered last week, sacked Nyesom Wike as governor of Rivers State and ordered the Independent Nation Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh governorship election in the state within 90 days. Arguing on the application, counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), urged the Court to disregard the application as it was tantamount to disqualifying itself from hearing the appeal for no just reason. Wike’’s counsel, Mr Osima Ginah told the court that the application for the re-constitution of the Appeal Court Panel via a letter written by the Rivers State APC on October 28, 2015 and brought to the attention of the Court on Thursday, should be dismissed. In the same vein, the Court also expunged from Judicial records of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal all the evidences against named and un-named security agents and named an un-named political thugs in the petition filed by Dakuku Peterside against Wike’s election. It will be recalled that the Rivers State APC had appealed an interlocutory ruling of the tribunal wherein, all the evidences against named and un-named security agents and named and un-named political thugs were struck out from the records of the tribunal because the Rivers State APC failed to join the said security agents and political thugs in their petition. The tribunal, however, took into consideration the evidences against the security agents and alleged political thugs in their judgement, relying on them despite the earlier interlocutory ruling of the tribunal. Justice Datti Yahaya, who led Justice Tanim Yusuf and Justice Mustapha Mohammed on the panel, held that the evidences that were led against security agents and political thugs whether named and un-named in the course of the hearing of the petition filed by the Rivers State APC governorship candidate against the election of Governor Wike, where the said security agents and alleged political thugs were not joined as parties should be struck out. The Court of Appeal further directed that all the criminal allegations contained in the petition against the said security agents and alleged political thugs be expunged as they had no opportunity to defend themselves at the tribunal . The Court held that in cases where criminal allegations are made against institutions, agents and individuals, they were expected to be joined as parties to the suit. It would be recalled that Justice Suleiman Ambrosa had in his judgment at the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal relied copiously on the testimonies of soldiers, mobile policemen and DSS operatives who alleged electoral crimes in the course of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state. Counsel to Governor Wike, Mr Osima Ginah told journalists after the judgement that the Court of Appeal judgment implies that all statements credited to the said security agents will be expunged from the records of the tribunal and will no longer form part of the appeal process. Ginah said the judgment has strengthened the case of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as the second leg Rivers State APC petition has been pulled out, pointing out that the other pillar of their case, the card reader accreditation is no longer tenable following decisions by Superior Courts on the matter.]]>

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