Rivers State Tribunal –  APC Withdraws Petition From Governorship Election Against PDP


Rivers State Tribunal –  APC Withdraws Petition From Governorship Election Against PDP

The All Progressives Congress (APC) announced on Monday that it had retracted the petition it previously submitted to challenge the affirmation of Sim Fubara, the candidate from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the victor of the governorship election held on March 18 in Rivers State.

Following the governorship election in Rivers State on March 18, nine candidates lodged petitions with the tribunal, contesting the election results. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Sim Fubara, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the winner with 302,614 votes.

However, opposition parties expressed dissatisfaction with the election outcome and chose to challenge it through the petitions filed at the tribunal.

Several candidates, namely Beatrice Itubo from the Labour Party, Tekena Iyagba representing the Boot Party, Innocent Ekwu from the APM, Etete Sobere of the PRP, Gabriel Gborogbosi representing the Action Alliance, Magnus Abe from the SDP, Pastor Tonye Cole representing the APC, and Dumo Lulu Briggs of the Accord Party, had submitted petitions at the tribunal.

However, during the tribunal proceedings on Monday, the petition filed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) was dismissed as their legal counsel withdrew the petition.

During the tribunal session, Solomon Umoh, the legal representative for the APC, informed the court that he would assume the role of counsel for the party, citing a motion for a change of counsel that was presented before the tribunal.

Additionally, Umoh conveyed his client’s request to have their names removed from the petition, effectively withdrawing their application.

Jibrin Okutepa, the previous legal representative for Tonye Cole and the APC, informed the tribunal that he was not informed or briefed about the recent development by the party.

Despite this, the three-member panel, headed by Justice Cletus Emifoniye, approved the application for a change of counsel and granted the requested motion to strike out the name of the APC as a petitioner.

The withdrawal of the APC’s petition was carried out in accordance with order 9 rule 15 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2019.

One of the reasons stated in the application for withdrawal is that “It is necessary to seek the permission of this Honorable Tribunal to remove the name of the 2nd Petitioner/Applicant, as they have no intention to be involved in this petition.”

Currently, no specific date is set for initiating the pre-hearing of applications before the tribunal.

Reliable sources within the party have revealed to SaharaReporters that the decision to withdraw the petition was a result of a “deal” struck between Nyesom Wike, the outgoing governor, and Bola Tinubu, the “president-elect,” who became allies just before the elections. This alliance emerged after Wike fell out with Atiku Abubakar, his party’s presidential candidate.

“Rivers APC had raised concerns about the lawyer selected by the National Legal Adviser, Barrister Ahmed El-Mazurk, primarily due to the lawyer’s connections with the outgoing Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike. Thus, we view the withdrawal as a favourable development.

However, Tonye Cole expressed disagreement with the decision to withdraw. He has stated his determination to persist, but the APC agreed with Wike to withdraw their petition. This withdrawal is part of Wike’s deal with Tinubu,” one of the sources said.


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