The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Owerri, Imo State, Wednesday, struck out a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party’s gubernatorial candidate, 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.
But in its ruling, the tribunal chairman, Justice David Wyon, held that the petition against Mr. Okoracha’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, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, had in a motion insisted that the petition was filed late.
Mr. Adeniyi 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.
While he said the petition was filed on June 23, he noted that the fees were paid after the stipulated time.
Since the filing was done out of time and the fees paid after the time stipulated in the law, Mr. Adeniyi prayed the tribunal not to hear the petition.
On his part, counsel to the PDP candidate and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ahamba, argued that the petition was not out of time.
He also told the panel that the relevant fees were also paid in line with the provisions of the electoral law.
Mr. Ahamba, was however, unsuccessful in swaying the panel in favour of his clients.