Justice Hilary Oshomah of a federal high Court in Port Harcourt has struck out a suit brought by the Rivers State Social Democratic Party against the Independent National Electoral Commission seeking for the cancellation of the March 9th governorship election in Rivers State for lack of jurisdiction.
The state SDP and its governorship candidate in the just concluded March 9 guber election, Chief Precious Elekima had dragged INEC to court through a fundamental human right enforcement suit.
The plaintiffs had prayed the court to cancel the election over an alleged denial of fair hearing.
The plaintiffs had told the court that INEC fact-finding committee that visited the state after the result collation process was suspended by the commission only met with the PDP and AAC governorship candidates.
In his ruling today (Friday), Justice Oshomah declined jurisdiction over the matter adding that the circumstances surrounding the suit showed that it is a post election matter which only an election petition tribunal has the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the ruling, counsel to the plaintiffs, Barr Somina Elekima said, “when we brought this matter before the court, it was not yet post election matter as results had not been announced.
“We will study to ruling and decide with our clients if we will head to tribunal.”
The court had on Monday April 1 reserved ruling for today after all arguments by both counsels were heard by the court.
Not withstanding the pending suit before the court, INEC on April 3, declared Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party, the winner of the state 2019 governorship election.
According to the result, Wike polled a total of 886,264 votes to defeat his closest rival, Biokpomabo Awara
of the African Action Congress who scored 173,859 votes.
Though a lot of candidates who lost to Wike at the poll had vowed to challenge the result at the tribunal.