Court summons INEC, Wike over Rivers’ governorship polls’ suspension
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the Rivers State government to appear before it to explain why Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections should not be suspended.
The invitation followed a suit by Chief Tonte Ibraye, the governorship candidate of the Africa Democratic Congress, ADC, and the party (ADC) seeking the suspension of the scheduled March 11 governorship election in the state.
Tonte in an ex parte motion in pursuant to Order 26, Rule 1, 2, 3, 6 (1) and 7, Order 28 Rule 1(1) and (2) of the Federal High Court ( Civil Procedure) Rule 2019 of the court, also stated that the new Executive Orders of the Rivers State government negatively impacted the electoral process in the state.
The plaintiffs, Chief Tonte Ibraye and ADC, had in the suit instituted in Abuja on four grounds sought the suspension of the governorship poll in the state.
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But the ex parte motion transferred to be heard in Port Harcourt, which was received by Registrar of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Mrs G. I. Obata, was heard today.
Justice A. T. Mohammed, who is presiding over the matter, ordered that the defendants, the Governor of Rivers State (1st defendant), Attorney General of Rivers State (2nd defendant), Peoples Democratic Party (3rd defendant), INEC (4th defendant) appear before it tomorrow, March 8 at 1p.m.
Mohammed said the order was for the parties to be present to argue why Saturday’s polls should not be suspended.
The plaintiffs want an order of Interim injunction restraining the first defendant by itself, its representatives, agents, privies and/or anybody, acting through it from further implementation and enforcement of the Executive Order RVSG-21 2022 issued on October 4, 2022 and Executive Order RVsG-22 2022 issued on November 11, 2022 by the first defendant pending the determination of the motion on notice before the court.
They also seek an order of interim injunction restraining the fourth defendant (INEC) by itself, its representatives, agents, privies and/or anybody, acting through it from proceeding to conduct the forthcoming gubernatorial election scheduled to hold on March 11 in Rivers State, pending the determination of the motion on notice before the court.