The appellant had objected that the court lacked merit to relocate the case to Abuja. But in its ruling, the supreme court upheld the right of the court to relocate the case to a tribunal sitting in Abuja following the absence of a chief judge at that time.
The court said the case was relocated by the president of the law court to Abuja basically due to security issues prevailing in Rivers state.
This the court said was to safeguard the lives of the chairman of the INEC and others involved in the case.
It said therefore that the tribunal was rightly constituted. It also added that the president of the court of appeal had a duty to ensure the safety of the court of tribunal by directing them to sit in Abuja to enable the tribunal to discharge its duty.
All five judges of the supreme court agreed with the judgement.
A tribunal in Abuja had on Saturday, October 2 ruled that the election in Rivers state that saw Wike elected as the state’s governor be cancelled and re-run.
Following the tribunal ruling Wike stated that he remained in charge of Rivers state, and he also vowed to appeal the court’s ruling.
The petition challenging the election of Wike as the Rivers state governor was filed by Dakuku Peterside, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The APC alongside its gubernatorial candidate, had been contesting the declaration of Governor Wike by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the Rivers state governorship poll in the April 11 gubernatorial election.
* * APC Hails Apex Court
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has lauded the Nigerian Supreme Court on its decision to throw out the bid by Wike to declare the sitting of the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja as being against the law.
The apex court ruled that the President of the Court of Appeal acted in line with the law in transferring the sitting of the tribunal to Abuja for security reasons. The court also affirmed the judgement of the Court of Appeal, which had earlier okayed the decision of the Tribunal to assume jurisdiction.
“As a party, the APC is grateful that all seven eminent jurists of the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that there was sufficient violence before; during and after the elections to justify the relocation of the tribunal to Abuja and that the relocation of the tribunal to Abuja was to safeguard the lives of the tribunal chairman, members and witnesses. The apex court likened the violence in Rivers to that of a theatre of war such as is prevailing in the North-East”, the party said in a statement sgned by its Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone in Port Harcourt.
The APC noted with delight that Justice Okoro from Akwa Ibom State not only concurred but went further to say that Rivers State was a theatre of war and as such protection of life and limbs of members of the panel and interested parties was paramount and thus relocation of the Panel imperative.
The APC also commended the eminent Supreme Court Justices for once again re-affirming that they always dispense justice without fear or favour despite the frequent boasts by Nyesom Wike that he has all the Justices of the Supreme Court in his pocket, whatever that means.
The significance of all seven eminent Justices of the Supreme Court speaking in one voice in today’s judgment according to the APC, is that the faith, hope and confidence of the ordinary Nigerian to get justice is assured in the Nigerian judicial system.
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