Justice J. A. Orjiakor-led Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting Port Harcourt has been dissolved.
This is as representatives of the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike failed in their bid to stop the dissolution of the trivial through an exparte.
The dissolution follows a petition by one of the plaintiffs who accused panel members of bias and alleging lack of trust in the members’ ability to deliver unbiased judgment in the matters before them.
Justice Orjiakor, at the resumed hearing of the petition by governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Biokpamabo Awara last Friday, dropped a hint of the threat on their continued hearing of the governorship election petition, when he said they had been hinted of a petition before the President of the Court of Appeal requesting for their dissolution and a reconstitution of another panel.
Meanwhile, the tribunal, at last Saturday’s hearing had reserved judgments till Monday on at least three matters. It was learnt they had been dissolved and that a new panel would assume sitting from Tuesday.
A melodrama ensued at the Justice Henry Omotoso Federal High Court room yesterday when Awara’s lawyers stormed out of the court where PDP and Governor Wike’s lawyers, led by Henry Bello, sneaked into the court to stop the dissolution of Justice Orjiakor’s panel.
The defendants had secretly approached the court to get an exparte order of injunction to stop members of the new panel from resuming sitting, but before they could act, Awara’s party, led by Taiwo Taiwo, rushed into the court loudly announcing their appearance.
Explaining what happened in the court, one of the lawyers said: “The panel members who have been sitting have been disbanded, a new one shall be reconstituted today (Monday). Bello and Governor Wike ran to the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Omotosho within few minutes, praying the Court for an exparte order to restrain the President of Court of Appeal from reconstituting another panel and a perpetual injunction in similar prayers.
“Surprisedly as he filed the exparte motion, we were smart to storm the Justice Omotosho court, announced our appearances and subsequent upon this, the court declined to grant the Exparte motion.”