The Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favour of Rivers State Governor, Hon Chibuike Amaechi who the court declared the validly elected Governor of the state. Hon Celestine Omehia, who had vied for the PDP ticket with Amaechi before getting the All Progressives Grand Alliance had instituted a suit in which he contested the Federal High Court ruling which stated that Governor Amaechi’s tenure ended on May 29, 2011. He based his argument on the premise that there was no vacancy in the Rivers State Governor’s office when Amaechi was elected.
Amaechi and Cyprian Chukwu, a chieftain of the PDP in Rivers State had told the Supreme Court panel headed by Justice Muntanka-Coomasie that the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court erred by allowing Omehia to appeal against the High Court judgment despite not being a party to the substantive suit that brought about the appeal.
Back in 2010, Cyprian Chukwu had approached the Federal High Court in Abuja and asked it to interpret the 2007 Supreme Court judgment which removed Celestine Omehia as Governor of Rivers State and declared Rotimi Amaechi as Governor.
Chukwu asked the court to determine whether a governorship election should be held in Rivers State during the April 2011 or later, given the fact that Amaechi took the oath of office in October 2007 and not May 29, when all other governors took the oath.
The high court held that the Rivers State governorship election should be included in the April 2011 general elections.
After the ruling of the High Court, Omehia, who was not a party to the High Court’s proceeding, applied to the Court of Appeal to be allowed to join in the matter as an interested party, contending that he was a party in the apex court judgment that was interpreted by the high court, adding he would be adversely affected by the Supreme Court judgment.
The case took a new turn when the PDP, which had initially opposed Omehia’s request to be granted leave to challenge the ruling of the High Court, suddenly had a change of mind and urged the apex court to allow Omehia to seek Ameachi’s removal.