The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Governor Nyesom Wike have been summoned to appear before the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and provide justifications for why it should not grant a motion ex-parte seeking to suspend the Saturday elections and Executive Orders 21 and 22.
African Democratic Congress (ADC) candidate for governor Chief Tonte Ibraye and the ADC filed the motion ex-parte.
The petitioners also requested in the ex-parte action that the court issue an order preventing the State Government from enforcing Executive Orders 21 and 22, which were passed in 2022.
According to the plaintiffs, any orders issued should remain in effect until the motion on notice is decided.
Although the lawsuit was originally filed in Abuja, it was sent back to the Port Harcourt court’s judicial division.
The presiding Judge, Justice A.T. Mohammed, on Tuesday said upon reading the 13-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Solomon Shoyemi and after hearing from the applicant’s lawyer, H.V. Chukure asked the applicants to put the respondents on notice to appear on March 8.
He said: “The applicant shall put the respondents on notice to appear on the 8th March, 2023 at 1pm and show cause why the application should not be granted”.
The ADC instituted the substantive suit to challenge the legality of the executive orders and their attendant consequences on the electioneering process and political atmosphere in the state.
The suit dated February 21, claimed that the implementation of the orders “created a total case of disorder, political crisis and wanton breach of peace in the polity atmosphere of Rivers State”.
“This has hampered the ability of the first plaintiff (Ibraye) and members of the second plaintiff (ADC) as well as other political parties except the third defendant (PDP) from assembling freely to carry out political activities such as campaigning, holding rallies, processions and meetings within the state.
“There is a reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to break out in Rivers if the fourth defendant proceeds with its plans to conduct the forthcoming gubernatorial elections scheduled to hold on March 11 in Rivers”, they said.
According to the plaintiffs in the interests of justice and fairness, INEC should be restrained from conducting the election pending the determination of the substantive suit.