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Court Dismisses PDP’s Request To Stop Relocation Of Tribunal To Abuja

Justice F.O Riman of the Federal High Court has rejected an application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to stop the relocation of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal from Uyo to Abuja.
Justice Riman dismissed the application in a ruling on a suit filed by the state chairman of the party, Mr. Paul Ekpo on behalf of the PDP, wherein he challenged the powers of the President, Court Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to move the tribunal from Uyo to Abuja.
Delivering ruling, the court held that the application was liable for dismissal having been unmeritorious and lacking substance.
More so, the judge declared the application null and void based on the grounds upon which it was instituted.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom state had in a petition by its Chairman, Mr. Ini Okopido, urged the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, to relocate the election tribunal from Uyo to the Federal Capital Territory.
In the petition, Okopido cited alleged attempts to perpetrate electoral fraud by the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Mike Igini in collusion with the Akwa Ibom state government and the PDP to destroy electoral materials needed to substantiate the election petition of the APC.
He stated that “we observe with deep regrets that since Mr. Mike Igini superintended over the worst general elections ever conducted in Akwa Ibom state that was fraught with manifest irregularities and widespread of electoral infractions, the resident electoral commissioner is now unveiling a grand scheme to thwart and create a chaotic environment to pave way for the pervasion of justice.
“We have been reliably informed that the resident electoral commissioner is now intimidating electoral officers who participated in the just concluded general elections in the state, particularly, collation officers, supervisory presiding officers, presiding officers and assistant presiding officers to forcefully coerce them to concoct and fabricate false reports of violence and ballot paper snatching.
“All in a bid to justify the clandestine activities of Mr. Mike Igini days after the purported declaration of results, seeing that unit results will expressly show that candidates of the APC clearly won the elections by the votes directly delivered at the polling units across the state.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the ruling, a chieftain of the APC, Obong Michael George accused the PDP of persistently attacking the Court of Appeal President.
George described the ruling as a right step in the right direction and wondered why the PDP has persistently chosen to say things that will portray Justice Bulkachuwa in a bad light.
‘’The suit was frivolous, reckless, unwarranted and capable of portraying the president of the Court of Appeal in a bad light over her constitutional and legitimate right over the establishment of election tribunals as well as its relocation if need be.
‘’Of recent, the PDP presidential candidate asked the Appeal Court president to recuse from sitting in the election petition tribunal. The party should allow the judiciary to exercise its constitutional rights over things it has powers over,” he added.

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