Tribunal overrules Wike over Aâ€™Court judgment
The Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Tuesday rejected an application for stay of its proceedings by Governor Nyesom Wike and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party.
The Justice Mohammed Ambros-led tribunal rejected the contention by Wike and the PDP that a ruling of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, had asked it to stay proceedings until it delivered all reserved rulings on all the respondentsâ€™ motions, which are seeking the dismissal of the petitionersâ€™ petition.
Wikeâ€™s election as governor in the April 11, 2015 poll is being challenged at the tribunal by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
The proceedings of the tribunal were stalled on Monday because Wike and the PDP through their lawyers, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala (SAN)â€Ž and Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), asked the tribunal to halt its proceedings because of the Court of Appealâ€™s judgment.
The tribunal had however adjourned till Tuesday requesting that it be served with the Court of Appealâ€™s ruling in order to decide on what step to take next.
Ukala and Adedipe on Tuesday maintained that the tribunal must stay proceedings in order to comply with the Court of Appealâ€™s judgment.
But, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ambrosa, after studying the Court of Appealâ€™s judgment on Tuesday observed that as against the request by Wike and PDP, the Court of Appeal in its decision delivered last Saturday, did not order stay of proceedings of the tribunal.
Justice Ambrosa said what the appellate court ordered, instead, was accelerated hearing in the petition.
â€ŽThe tribunal chairman read the content of the ruling aloud during the Tuesdayâ€™s proceedings.
â€ŽAccording to what Justice Ambrosa read, the appeal by the Wike and the PDP on which the appellate court delivered judgment succeeded in part, to the effect that the tribunal was ordered â€œto resolve the issue of the locus standi of the petitioners and the issue of service of the originating processes raised by the appellants, but which were not decided.â€
It also ordered the tribunal to accord the case accelerated hearing.
After reading the ruling, Justice Ambrosa promised to comply with the Court of Appealâ€™s ruling that it must rule on motions on which it had taken arguments but he called on the petitioners to continue their case for the time being.
The petitioners were to continue their case by calling more of their witnesses when PDPâ€™s lawyer, Adedipe, opposed the move, asking the tribunal to first complying with the appellate courtâ€™s ruling first before continuing hearing the petition.
In response, the petitionersâ€™ lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), urged the tribunal to ignore Adedipeâ€™s contention and continue with the trial.
Olujinmi asked anybody dissatisfied with the tribunalâ€™s directive to go on appeal.
In a ruling Justice Ambrosa said the tribunal, having chosen to proceed with trial, would not reverse itself.
The petitioners later called some witnesses, among whom, was Clinton Ochonma, before proceedings were adjourned till Wednesday.
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