The Rivers State governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has dismissed the motion filed by Governor Nyesom Wike, challenging the power of the Tribunal to sit in Abuja instead of Port Harcourt, the state’s capital.
The Tribunal headed by Justice Muazu Pindga on Monday, ruled that the motion by the Governor and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lacked merit and substance.
Governor Wike and his party wanted the Tribunal to hold in Port Harcourt, where the election in dispute was conducted.
The Governor claimed that the sitting of the Tribunal in Abuja was in breach of section 285 (2) of the 1999 Constitution and provisions of the Electoral Act 2010.
However, in his ruling, Justice Pindiga held that the Tribunal had not violated any provision of the law since the relocation to Abuja was based on security reasons
The Justice disagreed with the claim by the Governor on proximity and accessibility, as the two major factors that ought to have determined the venue of the sitting.
He said: “proximity and accessibility cannot be determined in the absence of security of the Tribunal members and litigants”.
Justice Pindiga also said that the President of the appeal court acted within the ambit of the law which laid emphasis on ensuring a conducive atmosphere for the Tribunal to hold proceedings before it could be set up.
The All Progressives Congress in Rivers State and its candidate in the April 11 governorship election, Mr Peterside Dakuku, had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, the PDP and the Governor of the state, Mr Wike, before the Tribunal to challenge his victory at the election.