Tribunal overrules Wike on stay of execution motion

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The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal for Rivers sitting in Abuja has struck out a motion by Governor Nyesom Wike, asking for stay of execution of an order it earlier granted.
Tribunal Chairman, Justice Muazu Pindiga, had on June 11 ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow APC and its candidate in the April 11 election, Mr Dakuku Peterside, inspect materials used for governorship election in Rivers.
Mr Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), counsel to Wike, the 2nd respondent, on June 17, moved a motion asking the tribunal to stay of execution of proceeding on the inspection of election materials.
Ukala had argued that the issue was already before the Appeal Court and that any issue before a higher court, a lower court was restricted in entertaining it.
He also moved another motion seeking for an order to strike out all motion statement on oath accompanying the petition with its full names and the identity of the deponent.
The other is a motion seeking to strike out the petitioner’s reply to the 2nd respondent to the petition.
However on Monday, counsel to Dakuku, Mr Akin Olujimi, (SAN), sought an order of the tribunal to direct INEC to bring all election documents in dispute from Port Harcourt to Abuja for inspection.
Olujimi also moved a motion asking for biometric scanning of the materials by INEC experts after they were moved to Abuja for inspection.
He also moved another motion seeking an order to direct all the respondents to move their preliminary objection pending before the tribunal or any other that might arise alongside their final addresses.
Also, counsel to INEC, Mr Wale Balogun, on the same date, challenged the competence of the petitioner’s replies to some of the motions raised earlier by his client.
Pindiga struck out the motion on stay of execution of proceedings on the ground that the tribunal was already on the entire petition.
According to Pindiga, event has already overtaken the motion seeking an order for all motion in line with preliminary objection to be held together alongside their final addresses by the respondents.
“Inline with Supreme Court Order and Paragraph 12(5) and 47(1) of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act, all motion in line with the preliminary objection will be held and shall be taken along in the pre-hearing session,’’ Pindiga stressed.
The Chairman, however, dismissed the motion seeking for the transfer of the materials of the election in question to Abuja.
The chairman said that the order of June 11 on the inspection of election material still remained, adding that the order could not be varied.
“We rely on Section 151 of the Electoral Act, the application to bring the election documents to Abuja is hereby dismissed,’’ Pindiga said.
He adjourned to Aug. 25 to rule on the motion seeking for biometric scanning of the election materials by the INEC experts.
The tribunal will also rule on another motion moved by the INEC challenging the competence of the petitioner’s replies to some of the motions earlier raised on that date.
It will also hear other motions that are due for hearing on the same date.

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