Poll: Tribunal grants Peterside leave to inspect documents

The Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday struck out an application by Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party seeking a stay of execution of an order permitting the All Progressives Congress and its candidate in the April 11, 2015 election, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, to inspect the documents used for the conduct of the poll.

Peterside and the APC had filed their petition before the Justice Mua’zu Pindiga-led tribunal to challenge the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of Wike, candidate of the PDP, as the winner of the April 11 poll, which the petitioners contended was marred by electoral fraud and irregularities.

Meanwhile, the Justice Mu’azu Pindiga-led tribunal also in a separate ruling on Wednesday, dismissed an application by Peterside and the APC, seeking an order directing INEC to transfer the electoral materials used for the conduct of the April 11 governorship poll in Rivers State, from Port Harcourt, the state capital, to the national headquarters of the electoral body in Abuja for easy inspection.

The petitioners also lost another application seeking an order of the tribunal directing that all notices of preliminary objection already filed and intended to be filed by the respondents should only be allowed to be raised in their final written addresses after the hearing of the petition.

In refusing the petitioners’ application, Justice Pindiga held that the application had been overtaken by event since some of such notices of preliminary objection had already been heard.

In all, the tribunal on Wednesday delivered five rulings on separate interlocutory applications filed by parties to the petition. None of the applications was granted by the tribunal.

The rest of the applications which the tribunal refused to grant on Wednesday included the one by the INEC, seeking an order striking out the reply of the petitioners to its own response to the petition.

The other motion was by Wike asking the Justice Pindiga-led tribunal to strike out the (witness) statements on oath of the respondents.