Wike, INEC, Ask Tribunal To Dismiss Peterside’s Petition Over N100 Filing Fee

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For failing to pay a specified N100 for the filing of pre-hearing notices, Dakuku Peterside's petition challenging the return of Nyesom Wike as Rivers state governor must be dismissed, Wike, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said this. They cited a precedent in which Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate for Imo governorship election, Emeka Ihedioha, had his petition against Governor Rochas Okorocha dismissed on the same ground. Akin Olujinmi, senior advocate, who represented Peterside, urged the tribunal chairman, Justice Muazu Pindiga to discountenance the argument. Olujinmi contended that filing such notice merely require a letter to the secretary to the tribunal, as the law did not state mandatory payment of N100. Citing Paragraph 2 of the TF007 (the said pre-hearing notice), Olujimi said only the provision for the submission of the form and not its filing required the N100 fee. He adds the tribunal could direct Peterside to pay the said N100 at any time because his initial failure to do could be a mere irregularity. Olujimi adds that Peterside, like other parties to the petition, had made a deposit of N500,000 security fund to the tribunal, so the tribunal could easily deduct N100 from the said money if it was a must that the N100 fee must be paid. “It is now settled that a petitioner can start a pre-hearing session by oral application. If I’m passing by, I can just ask the secretary to the tribunal to issue Form TF 007. So am I going to pay for the voice?” .

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