Hearing will resume on October 27, 2016 on the N5billion defamation suit filed by former Rivers state Governor Peter Odili against the Director General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside. The trial judge is the Rivers State Chief Judge, Justice Adama Iyayi-Lamikanra
Odili had dragged the Rivers state governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 election in Rivers State to court for alleging that he was instrumental to bribing Supreme Court justices to give favourable judgment to Governor Nyesom Wike.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, the former governor, who is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) mounted the witness box and his statement of claims was adopted However, the defendant, Peterside and his legal representatives were absent in court. Speaking to newsmen later, counsel to Odili, Joseph Ogwu, SAN said Peterside was duly served notice of the suit, and said that his client is in court to clear his name.
Ogwu said, “My client felt defamed by the statement made by Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside and we are in this Court to clear the name of my client.”
Peterside at a press briefing on February 9 in Port Harcourt, alleged: “Many a Nigerian continues to wonder why PDP and Governor Wike’s supporters went on wild celebration across Rivers State as early as 9 am on the Day of judgement even if the actual verdict was handed down at about 6:20 pm of that day,” Mr. Dakuku said.
“It clearly suggests that they might have been in the know of what the judgment would be long before the Supreme Court pronounced it.
“This is coupled with several comments especially on the social media some three weeks earlier such as ‘Thank God there will now be no need for a rerun election….. It is surely ending at the Supreme Court,” etc. etc.”
The APC candidate said information at his disposal confirmed that the governor told some persons he did not name that he (governor) met with one of the justices of the Supreme Court in Mbaise, a town in Imo State, another one in a hotel in Owerri, the state capital and others outside the country.
According to him, the two justices were incidentally members of the panel that decided the case last month.
He said, “Credible information confirmed that Nyesom Wike had earlier confessed to some persons of having met one of the Justices of the Supreme Court in Mbaise during an important burial, another at Owerri in a hotel and yet others in Dubai and Saudi Arabia respectively. These Justices were in the panel that decided the matter in Wike’s favour.
“However, the most striking revelation by Nyesom Wike is contained in his account at the thanksgiving service last Sunday. He obviously stunned his audience and the watching world when he confessed that when it came to the Judges, Dr Peter Odili and the wife Justice Mary Odili [a Justice of the Supreme Court] were his advisers.
“This simply confirmed his earlier statements that he had contact with the Justices after several attempts to reach the Chief Justice of the country failed.
“It is therefore obvious that the decision of the Supreme Court on the Rivers State Election was not a product of justice but rather a product of compromise and orchestrated contrivance to legalise electoral violence and rigging and, in turn, reward injustice. This calls for serious introspection by our Judiciary and judicial officers.”