Efforts by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, to stop the inauguration of the State governor-elect, Chief Nyesom Wike, as the state governor on May 29 suffered a set-back yesterday as the Federal High Court sitting in Owerri Imo State, struck out a suit instituted by the governor.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Worgu Boms, and the APC had in suit number FHC/OW/CS/100/2015 asked the court to stop the inauguration of Wike and the deputy governor-elect, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, on May 29.
But at the sitting of the court yesterday, the presiding judge, Justice S. M. Shuaibu, struck out the matter on the grounds that his court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
Counsel to Amaechi and the APC, Beluolisa Nwofor (SAN), had argued that the court could hear the suit as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that was listed as the third defendant, the police (listed as the eighth defendant) and the Department of State Security (DSS), listed as the 10th defendant, all had offices in Owerri.
Shuaibu however did not buy the argument.
He held that by the provisions of the Federal High Court 2011, notice on the venue of filing suits and the territorial jurisdictional limits of the judicial divisions of the Federal High Court enacted by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court pursuant to section 19 of the Federal High Court Act, Port Harcourt and not Owerri is the place in which the suit ought to have been filed.
The judge said it was so because all the principal claims in the suit are against Wike, and Harry-Banigo.
Reacting to the ruling, the Chairman of the PDP in Rivers State, Felix Obuah, praised the judiciary for rising up to the occasion as the true hope of the common man.
He noted that Amaechi was a creation of the judiciary as a court judgment put him in office.
He, however, said the governor had shown only one agendum since he came to power: ridiculing and destroying the judiciary.
He stated that Wike and the PDP were ready to meet the governor in any court of law.
Obuah welcomed what he described as sound and unambiguous judgment delivered in Owerri by a Federal High Court, presided over by Justice S. M. Shuaibu in favour of Wike, over his swearing in ceremony billed for May 29.
“The PDP expresses gratitude to the judiciary over the failure of Amaechi and the APC, through his Attorney-General, to secure judgment in the matter through the back door, which it believes would have truncated the democratic process in the state,” he said.
Obuah said he felt disturbed over the desperation exhibited by the out-going governor which clearly shows his exceeding hate for the governor-elect, even when everyone is expecting a robust peace in the state.
He said: “For us, the Owerri Federal High Court judgment clearing way for the inauguration of the PDP government and swearing-in of the governor-elect, Wike, on May 29 has further strengthened our hope and conviction that no matter the distractions and destructive tendencies of the out-going Amaechi-led administration in the state, the PDP government under Wike will still succeed.
“The PDP is therefore of the view that rather than wasting its time and Rivers peoples’ resources on fruitless court cases and non-productive actions aimed at thwarting the smooth inauguration of the incoming government, Amaechi is better advised to channel his energies in joining the administration of Wike in building a united Rivers State.
“Amaechi and the APC should allow peace reign in the state by not distorting the anticipated smooth handover of government to the PDP in the state on May 29, which is sacrosanct, as the party cannot wait to deliver to the people of the state what it promised them and many more after being inaugurated.”