Rivers Election: Court dismisses suit seeking to stop collation of results

The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has dismissed a suit seeking to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from concluding and collating the results of the March 9, 2019 governorship and House of Assembly Elections in Rivers State.

Justice Inyang Ekwo , dismissed the suit which was filed by the African Action Congress and three of its members for want of jurisdiction.

The judge in his judgment yesterday, upheld the preliminary objection filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.

The court held that the subject matter of the suit being a post- election case, the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate on it.

Justice Ekwo said the proper place to adjudicate on the matter is the election petition turbinal and described the suit as an attempt by the plaintiffs to make the court constitute itself into an election petition tribunal.

Justice Ekwo who relied on the case of Ohakim Vs Agbaso which he said was relevant to the present case.

Ekwo said, “ in a very plain language, the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs are post-election and falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the election tribunal.

“The authority in Ohakim Vs Agbaso is very apt and until set aside it remains the law. Once an election has been held, it leaves the threshold of the Federal High Court.

“ I find that the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs are within the realm of election tribunal and I hereby declined jurisdiction to hear the suit.

“ I make an order dismissing the case for want of jurisdiction. “ Justice Ekwo ruled.

The plaintiffs who filed the suit marked FHC/ ABJ/CS/303/2019, were AAC, its governorship candidate in Rivers State, Biokpomabo Awara, and  Ben-Gurion John Peter.

They asked the court for an order “restraining the 1st Respondent (INEC) from further action in any manner whatsoever, including the counting/collation of votes, declaration and return of any candidate in the Gubernatorial and Houses of Assembly election of 9th March, 2019.

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