Supreme Court strikes out suit Challenging Wike’s eligibility

The Supreme Court has struck out a suit challenging the eligibility of Governor Nyesom Wike for the last governorship election in Rivers State.

A five-man Supreme Court panel upheld two appeals by Wike in two unanimous judgments on Monday, challenging the leave given by the Court of Appeal to Elvis Chinda.

Chinda had sued the Federal High Court and querying, among others, the authenticity of the birth certificate supposedly presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and asked the court to disqualify him from contesting the last election of the governorship.

Earlier this year in a judgement, the Federal High Court dismissed the suit, a decision Chinda appealed to the Court of Appeal, Abuja. Chinda later discovered that his notice of appeal was wrongly addressed to the Federal High Court as opposed to the Court of Appeal and applied for leave to amend.

Wike objected to Chinda’s amendment on the basis that he applied to amend the Federal High Court’s decision outside the time permitted by law.
The Court of Appeal disregarded the objection of Wike and granted Chinda’s amendment, a decision Wike appealed to the Supreme Court in two appeals marked: SC/606/2019 and SC/607/2019.

The Supreme Court set aside the leave granted to Chinda by the Court of Appeal to amend his notice of appeal in its lead judgment, authorized by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola but read by Justice Paul Galumje.

The court ruled that the amendment granted outside the time permitted the appellant to lodge an appeal violated First Schedule paragraph 14(4) of the Electoral Act.

The Supreme Court proeeded to allow both of Wike’s appeals and dismissed Chinda’s notification of appeal to the Court of Appeal, which it said was faulty.

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