The Supreme Court has thrown out an appeal filed by the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesome Wike, challenging the constitution of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal Panel.
The Court also upheld the decision of the two lower courts which dismissed Mr Wike’s appeal challenging the relocation of the Tribunal from Rivers State capital to Abuja.
According to the apex court the invocation of the Doctrine of Necessity by the President of the appellate court at the material time was in order, since there was no Chief Judge or President of the Customary Court of Appeal in the State.
It also held that it was common knowledge that at the material time, there were threats of insecurity, leading to the decision of the President of the appellate court to take a preventive measure of securing the life and property of the members of the Tribunal.
The Court said that in any case, consultation of the Chief Judge of a state and the President of the Customary Court of that state was not to affect the persons nominated to sit on any appeal that may result from elections from that particular state, but to ensure that such a state was represented in the selected panellist for tribunals emanating from the general elections at that time.
The Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on October 24 nullified the election of Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the Governor of Rivers State, on grounds that his election did not comply with electoral guidelines.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Suleiman Ambrosa, ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in the state within 90 days of the ruling.
The petition challenging Mr Wike’s victory was filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Mr Dakuku Peterside.
After the Judgement was delivered, the PDP and Mr Wike said they would appeal the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship Tribunal.
Addressing journalists after the judgment, counsel to the PDP, Chris Uche, said that “Governor Nyesom Wike remains governor until the appeal processes are exhausted”.
He added that the nature of the judgment delivered by the Justice Ambrosa-led tribunal made the appeal vital, as the new position adopted by the Tribunal must be tested in the interest of justice.
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