ABUJA – The Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja, has declined to order the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to transfer all the materials that were used for the conduct of the April 11 governorship election in Rivers state, to Abuja for inspection.In a ruling this morning, the Justice Muazu Pindiga-led tribunal dismissed the application which was made by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate in the state, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
APC and Peterside had in furtherance to the petition they lodged against the election victory of Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, prayed the tribunal to direct INEC to relocate all the polling materials to Abuja for inspection by its legal team and forensic experts.
The materials the petitioners intend to subject to scrutiny include all ballot papers, the voters’ register that was used for the election, as well as the biometric data as captured by the Card Reader Machines that were deployed to Rivers State by INEC for the purpose of the disputed governorship poll.
However, while dismissing the application dated July 17, the tribunal held that acceding to the request by the APC would amount to varying an earlier order it made on June 11, wherein it directed the electoral body to grant the petitioners access to the election materials.
The tribunal maintained that the petitioners failed to convince it on why that previous ruling should be amended to reflect that the inspection of the materials should be conducted in Abuja.