Wike Moves To Stop Rivers Election Tribunal From Sitting

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From Left: Newly Elected Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kaduna State Council, Ephraim James; Deputy Chairman, John Adaji and Treasurer, Danladi Yahaya, at the 11th NLC State Delegates Conference in Kaduna,  yesterday
From Left: Newly Elected Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kaduna State Council, Ephraim James; Deputy Chairman, John Adaji and Treasurer, Danladi Yahaya, at the 11th NLC State Delegates Conference in Kaduna, yesterday

The governorship candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), in Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike, has filed a case against the Governorship/House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal.
The governor-elect, Wike, who filed the case at a Federal High Court in Abuja, is challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to sit in Abuja instead of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
In constituting the tribunal for Rivers State which will sit in the premises of Federal High Court, Apo, Abuja, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachawa, said the relocation in venue was for reason of security.
Apart from Rivers, Election Petition Tribunals for Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, respectively, will also be holding in Abuja.
According to CA, Rivers tribunal will sit at the FCT High Court in Apo; Adamawa tribunal is to sit at FCT High Court in Jabi; that of Yobe will sit in Nyanya.
Wike wants the court to stop the tribunal from holding in Abuja as the matters it shall be entertaining have their locales in the Rivers State capital.
It could not be confirmed whether Wike and PDP will boycott the tribunal’s when hearing opens.
It was reported that Wike, a day to the April 11 governorship, had refused to honour an invitation to attend a peace meeting convened by AIG Tunde Ogunsakin.
Wike was reported to have told Ogunsakin, who is the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 6, Calabar he would not attend the meeting, accusing the senior police officer of being anti-PDP.
However, a lawyer based in Port Harcourt argued that if Wike had any reason to challenge the jurisdiction of the tribunal sitting outside Port Harcourt, the only option was for him to raise the issue before the Tribunal.
The lawyer said that Wike’s action amounted to a litigant seeking a judge to disqualify another judge in a case the former judge has no jurisdiction.
“If Wike had any reason to question the jurisdiction of the Rivers State Election Petitions Tribunal holding in Abuja, the proper thing is for him to first appear before the tribunal, then, challenge its jurisdiction there.
“But come to think about it, one can reason that it is already a futile mission. The tribunal will only be holding in Abuja; not sitting. A similar scenario played out in Rivers State where the state High Court, Okrika was relocated to Port Harcourt over similar reason of security. It was addressed as ‘Rivers State High Court, Okrika Holding in Port Harcourt’.”