The Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja has rejected another application by the state governor, Nyesom Wike, asking for the dismissal of the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress’ candidate in the April 11, 2015 poll, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
Both Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission had filed separate applications praying for the dismissal of the petition challenging his (Wike’s) victory at the poll on the grounds that the petitioners failed to pay the N100 said to be prescribed as a fee for the issuance of the pre-hearing notice.
The Justice Mu’azu Pindiga-led tribunal’s two separate rulings dismissing the applications on Monday were part of the string of recent decisions of the tribunal rejecting applications by the respondents to stop the hearing of the case.
Various interlocutory applications by the respondents had prevented the tribunal from proceeding to the hearing of the main petition three months after it was filed, despite the statutory 180-day period within which the petition must be heard and determined.
In separate rulings on the applications by Wike and INEC, the tribunal on Monday held that the application for issuance of a pre-hearing notice was not part of the documents for which a filing fee must be paid as prescribed in paragraph 37(4) of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act.
The tribunal also held that contrary to the applicants’ contention, the petitioners validly applied for the issuance of the pre-hearing notice (Forms TF 007 and TF 008) within seven days of exchanging the necessary replies between the petitioners and the respondents, as stipulated by law.
“There is no defect in the pre-hearing notice. The tribunal, therefore, holds that the application filed by the 1st respondent (INEC) is, hereby, discountenanced and accordingly dismissed,” Justice Pindiga ruled.
The tribunal also adopted the same ruling …Read More
Source:: New Mail