The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate in the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state, Dr Dakuku Peterside, on Monday alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disobeyed an order by the Tribunal requesting the electoral body to allow them inspect election materials used for the election.
It would be recalled that the three-member panel of the Tribunal, headed by Justice Muazu Pindiga had granted the order at the last hearing of the petition.
Pindiga had granted a motion ex-parte filed on June 8, 2015 by the petitioners, allowing the inspection of Card Readers and records of electoral materials used in all the polling units in the state.
At Monday’s resumed hearing of the matter, counsel to the petitioners, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) informed the court that INEC declined to make the materials available for inspection, in total disobedience to an earlier order of the Tribunal to that effect.
He argued that an order for inspection was obtained and directed at INEC, against which INEC had not complained to the Tribunal, but chose, on its own to disobey the order of the Tribunal.
According to Olujinmi, the application by the counsel to Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), praying the Tribunal to set aside its order on the inspection of the election materials, was a calculated attempt by the respondents to delay proceedings in the petition.
“The application for setting aside the order was a decision to legalise the conspiracy between the 1st and 2nd respondents (INEC and Wike) to frustrate the order of the Tribunal,’’ Olujimi submitted.
He, therefore, urged the Tribunal to ignore the application for lacking in merit.
Earlier, Ukala had prayed the court to set aside the order allowing the inspection of the election materials on the ground that the Tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the petition in the first place,
He contended that the Tribunal ought to have addressed the issue of jurisdiction before exercising any judicial powers in line with Section 6 (6) of the Constitution.
Aligning, other respondents in the petition adopted Ukala’s submission that the Tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to make the order in question and urged the three-member panel to set it aside.
The Tribunal, after listening to arguments on the application, adjourned till July 9, 2015 for ruling.
It would be recalled that Rivers State APC and its candidate in the April 11 governorship election, Dr Dakuku Peterside, had dragged INEC, PDP and Wike before the Tribunal to challenging his victory in the election.