Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal in Port Harcourt has dismissed a petition filed by the African Action Congress (AAC) governorship candidate election, Biokpomabo Awara, against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Nyesom Wike and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The tribunal presided over by Justice K. A. Orjiako, dismissed the petition on the grounds that it was deemed abandoned on the grounds of paragraph four 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 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 before the tribunal.
The application came after the AAC brought in another counsel to handle its matter at the tribunal.
The three-man panel, led by Justice Orjiako, after going through the arguments in the Awara, AAC suit against Governor Wike, ruled that all applications filed by the first petitioner (Tawo Tawo, former AAC counsel) were 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.
Also, the panel struck out the application filed by the petitioner for pre-hearing of the matter.
Meanwhile, Wike has charged the Committee for Accreditation and Approval of Private Schools to embark on a comprehensive assessment of schools with the objective of reviving the standard of education.
Inaugurating the committee at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike said the basic education level is important to the development of education.
He said: “I plead with you to be committed to delivering on this assignment because it is critical to the development of education in the state. I respect members of the committee and urge you not to allow anyone to offer you bribes. How much can they give to you that will convince you to mortgage the future of Rivers children?” he asked.
Governor Wike said the government is committed to ensuring that private schools are of approved standard with the right facilities and qualified teachers.
He said in carrying out the assignment, members of the committee should not be swayed by prominent persons, politicians and their relatives.
“There is nothing like party chairman or party secretary in this assignment. In this assignment, you were not appointed by any other person. Therefore, you should be focused on assessing the schools and churning out credible reports,” he said.