Rivers Guber Election Petition Tribunal Grants Leave to Serve Court Processes on Wike

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The Rivers Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday granted substituted service of court processes on the Rivers Governor-elect, Mr Nyesom Wike.   Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Muazu Pindiga, granted the application after listening to a motion ex-parte brought by the petitioner’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN).   Wike, the defendant, was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship election held on April 11, while Mr Dakuku Peterside, the petitioner, was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).   The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the motion ex-parte. also prayed the court to grant a leave to the petitioner to bring his application outside or before the hearing session.   NAN reports that other prayers sought by the petitioner was an order for him to argue some issues outside or before the hearing session.   He also sought for an order for the petitioner to deliver to the third respondent, the PDP, the court processes through the state chapter of the party.   Akeredolu told the court that the bailiff of the Court of Appeal in Rivers has tried twice to affect the service of court processes on the governor-elect but was not successful.   According to Akeredolu, the motion ex-parte is supported with a 19 paragraph-affidavit of non-service and a written address to support the argument.   He said that the motion was brought in accordance with the Electoral Act and the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rule.   Pindiga, who granted the prayers, ordered that  the court processes should be pasted on the wall of the house of the governor-elect.   “I have gone through the motion ex-parte and it is hereby granted; all the court processes are deem valid,’’ the chairman said   At the inaugural sitting before the court session, Pindiga told the court that the tribunal only has 180 days to sit on the governorship election issue in Rivers.   According to the chairman, the tribunal will be fair and will be guided by the Electoral Act in the discharge of its duties.   Pindiga called for the cooperation of all litigants and journalists, adding that the “ tribunal will sit by 9 a.m. in all the days of the week or on any day agreed upon by all the counsel.’’

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