Tony John, Port Harcourt
Court of Appeal Governorship Election Appeal Panel sitting in Port Harcourt, has set aside the judgement of Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Port Harcourt, which dismissed the petition of the governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Biokpomaba Awara, against Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, for abandoning their petition.
The five-man panel consequently directed parties in the case to return to the tribunal to hear the matter on its merit.
In a unanimous judgement delivered yesterday by the lead judge, Justice J.O. Bada, the appeal panel disclosed that the appellant did no harm by requesting for the regularisation and separation of the suit.
On the second appeal by the Awara, on the consent judgement and preliminary objections by respondents, the five-man appeal panel also in a unanimous judgement, set aside the judgement of the tribunal, saying that the tribunal erred.
The court held that the position of Supreme Court on the case of the All Progressives Congress and Abraham Umar and 22 others, on which the first respondent’s counsel, Henry Bello, and others based their arguments, was different from the matter in contention and therefore struck it out. The court, subsequently ordered the parties to return to the tribunal to hear the matter on its merit.
Speaking outside the courtroom, counsel for AAC governorship candidate, David Adebe, after deliberating on the issues in contention, expressed joy over the judgement of the Appeal Court. Counsel representing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Davies Woyike, said the commission would abide by the decision of the court, unless other respondents in the matter say otherwise. Counsels for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Emma Ukala (SAN); Godwin Obla (SAN), representing Governor Wike, and AAC, Henry Bello, declined to speak on the judgement.