By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed the petition filed by the African Action Congress (AAC) governorship candidate in the 2019 general election, Biokpomabo Awara, against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The tribunal presided over by Justice K. A. Orjiako dismissed the petition on the ground that it was deemed abandoned on the ground of Paragraph 4 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act.
According to the tribunal, the petition was deemed to be technically abandoned because the AAC and its candidate failed to meet key procedural requirements as to applying for pre-hearing information.
The three-man panel declared that petition number EPT/RS/GOV/03/2019 was incompetent and therefore dismissed it.
Earlier, the tribunal struck out applications by the AAC governorship candidate, seeking that he be separated from all joint applications previously made with the party.
The AAC recently adopted Mr Henry Bello to represent it at the tribunal after the former counsel, Tawo Tawo (SAN), withdrew from the matter, with a notice of change of counsel filed at the tribunal.
This application came in after the AAC brought in another counsel to handle its matter at the tribunal.
The three-man panel, after going through arguments against Governor Wike ruled that all applications filed by the first petitioner (Tawo Tawo, former AAC counsel) are struck out.
Ojiako noted that the application by the petitioner (counsel for Awara; Mustafa Ibrahim) has been found to be an abuse of court process.
The panel also struck out the application filed by the petitioner for pre-hearing of the matter.