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Tribunal dismisses LP, PPP petitions against Gov. Wike

Blessing  Okorite, Port Harcourt

The Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers, has struck out petition by the Labour Party governorship candidate in the state against the Peoples Democratic Party (pdp), its candidate Governor Nyesom Wike and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the March 9, governorship election in the state.

The dismissing of the petition was followed by withdrawal by the LP governorship candidate, Chief Isaac Wonwu in a petition registered in EPT/RS/GOV/O4/2019.

Justice O K Kaigama who led the three man panel at tribunal ruled that the Labour Party Governorship Candidate withdrew the petition  on his own volition  and that there were  no  illegal  agreements  that necessitated  the  withdrawal.

The Governorship  of Labour Party in the March 9, 2019 governorship Election in Rivers State, Chief Isaac Wonwu and his party had withdrawn petition against the Peoples Democratic Party and its Candidate, Governor Nyesom Wike and Independent National Electoral Commission pending before the elections petition tribunal sitting in Port Harcourt.

Counsel for Labour Party and their candidate, Mr Uche Olerunne had on Wednesday, at the tribunal applied a leaf to the court to withdrew and strike out the matter.

The LP counsel urged the court to take the application out of pre-hearing stage as stated in Electoral Act page 47 Sub one first scheduled of electoral act as amended.

However, counsel for the PDP and Governor Wike, M.S Agwu, who did not opposed the applications statedthat he filed an affidavit against any illegal  terms of  withdrawal, noting that the petitioner withdrew the petition on his own volition.

Counsel for INEC, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN),  informed  the Tribunal  that the Commission filed a preliminary objection to the Petition.  He stated that INEC is not opposing the application for withdrawal and asked the court not to strike out the matter but should dismiss it.

Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom counsel for INEC, Abdulhakeem Mustapha, Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN), said “The petitioners action was bases on the advise of INEC who filed a notice of preliminary  objection asking the tribunal to dismiss their petition for non compliant with the provision of the electoral act, 2010 as amended, so they came out and decided to with draw them.”
Asked what the failed to do in their period, said ” their petitions were generic and they also failed to finish the tribunal the relevant information required by the electoral act.” He explained.

Similarly, the three man Election Petition Tribunal also dismissed the petition of the Peoples Progressive Party, PPP, against the Peoples Democratic Party, its Candidate, Governor Nyesom Wike and Independent National Electoral Commission following application for withdrawal by the party.

Counsel for PPP, Chibuzor Ezike who is also the national legal adviser of the party, had applied for withdrawal of their petition which was not opposed by parties.