The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike is really keen on ensuring that his case against the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, at the Supreme court goes in his favour.
Governor Wike and his Finance Commissioner, Isaac Kamalu landed in the capital city on Sunday, September 20th and are currently pursuing every means available to get a favourable judgement.
It can be recalled the Federal Inland Revenue Service had approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the judgement of the Federal High Court in Rivers State which ruled on August 9 that the state, and not the FIRS, should be the authority collecting VAT and Personal Income Tax in the state.
The Court of Appeal had on September 10 ruled that the parties in the suit should maintain the status quo.
On Thursday, however, the Appeal Court also said it reserved ruling on the application for a joinder filed by the Lagos State Government.
The Rivers State Government approached the nation’s Apex court, the Supreme court to set aside the ruling of the appellate court on grounds that the lower court erred in ordering status after it earlier held that the application for joinder by Lagos State must be heard first before the motion for stay and interlocutory injunction by the FIRS.
The appellant maintained that the appellate court lacks the powers to set aside its own judgment, which held that the Lagos application for joinder must be taken before any other application. They further argued that ordering ‘status quo ante Bellum amounts to granting the reliefs being sought by the FIRS when the main application has not been heard and determined.
In a desperate move to ensure things go in his favour, a plan was reportedly hatched to influence the selection of a supreme court panel that will deliver judgement on the case.
According to TheCable, the first phase of the sinister plan was to ensure that the Chief Justice of the Federation, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad proceeds on a trip to the United Kingdom before the panel is constituted.
This will leave room for the second-highest in command at the supreme court, Justice Mary Odili to select the panel. It’s common knowledge that Mr Wike is a political godson of Mrs Odili’s husband, Peter Odili.
However, in a swift response, the CJN issued a statement stating that there will be no external interference in the case. Despite the CJN’s denial, Wike’s reason for briefly relocating to Abuja with the state’s commissioner of finance may be totally related to the case.
Sources reveal that the Governor is exploring every option available to swing the case in his favour as the presence of his finance commissioner indicates that there won’t be any hesitance in loosening the purse strings of the state in order to achieve their goal.