Federal High Court To A’Court President: Don’t Change Rivers’ Election Tribunal

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A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt yesterday gave the Rivers State Election Tribunal go head to continue with its proceedings as the Court of Appeal cannot set up another panel to carry out the same function until it rules otherwise.
The governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Mr. Biokpomabo Awara was said to have petitioned the Court of Appeal seeking the setting up of a new panel to oversee the election petitions in the state.
The party, however, through its counsel, Henry Bello (Esq), prayed the Federal High Court in an injunction to restrain the President of Court of Appeal from reviewing the judgments of the Court of Appeal by setting up a new panel.
The defendants in the suit are the President of the Court of Appeal, the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal, the governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Biokpomabo Awara, INEC, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice J. K. Omotosho, who ruled on the suit filed by the AAC against the President of the Court of Appeal, the Rivers State Election Tribunal, Awara, INEC and others for the interpretation of Section 233 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), declared: “That all parties in this suit are hereby ordered not to make any act or take any steps that will render this suit nugatory or overreach the outcome of the originating summons.
“That the originating summons is hereby adjourned till the 13th day of September, 2019 for hearing.
“That if this matter is not ripe for hearing on the 13th of September 2019, as a result of the failure on the part of the plaintiff, this court will not hesitate to strike out this suit as time is of the essence in post-election matters.
“That the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal that sat on 7th of September 2019 is not precluded from continuing its proceedings.”
Justice Omotosho further ordered: “That the pending suit shall not stop the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal that sat on the 7th of September 2019 from continuing its proceedings.”
The court granted leave that the suit filed by the AAC be heard during the 2019 vacation period of the court.
Omotosho further added: “That the originating summons shall be served on all parties within 24 hours from today. That the respondents shall respond to the originating summons within 72hours of service of same on them.
“And, that the plaintiff shall reply to the response of the defendants within 24 hours of being served with the response of the defendants.”
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