A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has summoned Governor Nyesom Wike, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to appear before it and explain why it should not grant a motion ex-parte seeking suspension of Saturday’s elections and Executive Orders 21 and 22.
The motion ex-parte was filed by the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and its governorship candidate in the state, Chief Tonte Ibraye.
In the ex-parte motion, the applicants also asked the court to give an order restraining the state government from enforcing its Executive Orders 21 and 22 enacted in 2022.
The plaintiffs said the orders if given, should subsist pending the determination of the motion on notice.
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Although the suit was initially filed in Abuja, it was returned to the Port Harcourt judicial division of the court.
The presiding judge, Justice A. T. Mohammed, yesterday said upon reading the 13-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Solomon Shoyemi and after hearing from the applicant’s lawyer, H. V. Chukure, asked the applicants to put the respondents on notice to appear on March 8.
He said: “The applicant shall put the respondents on notice to appear on March 8 at 1pm and show cause why the application should not be granted.”
The ADC had instituted the substantive suit to challenge the legality of the executive orders and their attendant consequences on the electioneering process and political atmosphere in the state.
The suit dated February 21, claimed that the implementation of the orders “created a total case of disorder, political crisis and wanton breach of peace in the polity atmosphere of Rivers State.”
“This has hampered the ability of the first plaintiff (Ibraye) and members of the second plaintiff (ADC), as well as other political parties, except the third defendant (PDP), from assembling freely to carry out political activities such as campaigning, holding rallies, processions and meetings within the state.
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“There is a reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to break out in Rivers if the fourth defendant proceeds with its plans to conduct the forthcoming governorship election scheduled to hold on March 11 in Rivers,” they said.
The plaintiffs said in the interests of justice and fairness, INEC should be restrained from conducting the election pending the determination of the substantive suit.
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