The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Owerri, Imo State, Wednesday, struck out a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party’s gubernatorial candidate, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, against the election of Rochas Okorocha as governor of the state.
Mr. Ihedioha and the PDP had challenged the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to return Mr. Okorocha as the winner of the April 11 governorship poll in the state.
The tribunal, in a ruling delivered by its chairman, Justic David Wyon, held that the petition against Mr. Okorocha’s election was filed outside the time stipulated in the electoral law. He, therefore, struck out the suit.
Earlier, counsel to the state governor, Akintola Adeniyi, SAN, had in a motion insisted that the petition was filed late. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria argued that the petitioner failed to pay the necessary fees on the day he approached the tribunal, saying it amounted to making the petition time-barred.
According to him, the petition was filed on June 23 while the fees were paid after the stipulated time.
Since the filing was done late and the fees paid after the time stipulated in the law, Mr. Adeniyi prayed the tribunal not to hear the petition.
In his argument, counsel to the PDP and Ihedioha, Mike Ahamba, SAN, said the petition was not filed out of time.
He also told the panel that the relevant fees were also paid in line with the provisions of the electoral law.
Despite his arguments, the tribunal went ahead to rule in favour of Okorocha.