The panel of judges for the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal has been reconstituted.
Justice Muazu Pindiga has been replaced by another judge as Chairman of the tribunal.
The the development drew an intense protest from the respondents.
Counsel to Governor Nyesom Wike described it as moves by subterranean forces that might be at work to ensure that the outcome of the petition favours a particular political party.
He urged the tribunal to give the respondents some time to review the development before taking further action.
Counsel to the petitioners, Akin Olujimi, also expressed surprise at the development, but urged the tribunal not to waste any more time, considering the fact that time is of essence in the election petition case.
After listening to the concerns, the new chairman of the tribunal ruled that he had to take charge of the tribunal following an order of the Appeal Court in a letter he said was dated 1st of September.
The panel also held that any party that is aggrieved as a result of the reconstitution of the panel should file a protest to the appropriate authorities
Meanwhile, hearing of the Rivers State governorship election petition has opened in full, as the first set of witnesses called in by the petitioners have started undergoing cross examination.