Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal Filed By Rivers Governor, Wike

Nyesom WikeThe Supreme Court has thrown out an appeal filed by the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesome Wike, challenging the constitution of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal Panel.

The Court also upheld the decision of the two lower courts which dismissed Mr Wike’s appeal challenging the relocation of the Tribunal from Rivers State capital to Abuja.

According to the apex court the invocation of the Doctrine of Necessity by the President of the appellate court at the material time was in order, since there was no Chief Judge or President of the Customary Court of Appeal in the State.

It also held that it was common knowledge that at the material time, there were threats of insecurity, leading to the decision of the President of the appellate court to take a preventive measure of securing the life and property of the members of the Tribunal.

The Court said that in any case, consultation of the Chief Judge of a state and the President of the Customary Court of that state was not to affect the persons nominated to sit on any appeal that may result from elections from that particular state, but to ensure that such a state was represented in the selected panellist for tribunals emanating from the general elections at that time.

Tribunal’s Verdict

The Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on October 24  nullified the election of Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the Governor of Rivers State, on grounds that his election did not comply with electoral guidelines.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Suleiman Ambrosa, ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in the state within 90 days of the ruling.

The petition challenging Mr Wike’s victory was filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Mr Dakuku Peterside.

After the Judgement was delivered, the PDP and Mr Wike said they would appeal the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship Tribunal.

Addressing journalists after the judgment, counsel to the PDP, Chris Uche, said that “Governor Nyesom Wike remains governor until the appeal processes are exhausted”.

He added that the nature of the judgment delivered by the Justice Ambrosa-led tribunal made the appeal vital, as the new position adopted by the Tribunal must be tested in the interest of justice.

Rivers Election: Police Beef Up Security, Say State Is Calm

RiversThe Rivers Police Command says that the state is calm with people going about their normal businesses after the annulment of the election of Governor Nyesom Wike.

In Port Harcourt and neighbouring local government areas, security had been beefed up with deployment of security personnel in strategic locations.

Rivers State Police Spokesperson, Mrs Grace Iringe-Koko, said that the command has not recorded any incidents and that it was on top of the situation.

The petition challenging Mr Wike’s victory was filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Mr Dakuku Peterside.

In the 2hrs. 8mins judgment delivered in Abuja, the tribunal agreed that the evidence provided by the witnesses called by the respondent and INEC is incredible and unreliable.

The petitioner had argued that the elections were marred by unauthenticated alterations in forms EC8A, issuance of ballot papers in excess of 100 leaves per booklet, one PDP collation agent signing for several wards, presiding officer signing for party agents, voter signing for party agent and absence of collation at ward collation centers and many more.

Both the PDP and APC have reacted to the verdict and asked their supporters to remain calm.

While the All Progressives Congress welcomed the judgement, referring to it as a deadly body blow to impunity and hooliganism, the Peoples Democratic Party described it as bias, bizarre and unacceptable.

Therefore, the party and its candidate in the election, Governor Nyesom Wike have said that they will appeal the judgment.

 

Rivers Petition Tribunal Nullifies Wike’s Election

RiversThe Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has nullified the election of Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party as the Governor of Rivers State, on grounds that his election did not comply with electoral guidelines.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Suleiman Ambrosa, has ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in the state within 90 days of the ruling.

The petition challenging Mr. Wike’s victory was filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Mr. Dakuku Peterside.

In the 2hrs. 8mins judgment delivered in Abuja, the Tribunal agreed that the evidence provided by the witnesses called by the respondent and INEC is incredible and unreliable.

The petitioner, had argued that the elections were marred by unauthenticated alterations in forms EC8A, issuance of ballot papers in excess of 100 leaves per booklet, one PDP collation agent signing for several wards, presiding officer signing for party agents, voter signing for party agent and absence of collation at ward collation centers and many more.

Counsel to the petitioners, Chief Akin Olujimi, also argued that the resort to manual accreditation lacked legal justification when INEC had directed that card readers should be exclusively used for accreditation.

The respondents Nyesom Wike, his party, the PDP and INEC who jointly called 40 witnesses, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds that it was constituted by unfounded allegations which the petitioners failed to establish.

Justice Ambrosa ruled that the panel was satisfied and the petitioners had proved their case and ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections within 90 days of the ruling.

The Lawyer to the Peoples Democratic Party, Chris Uche (SAN) said they will appeal to the Tribunal’s judgement immediately.

In a swift reaction, the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC)accepted the judgment of the Tribunal.

In a statement signed by the Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, the APC said “We have been vindicated in our persistent claim that the election in Rivers State was false and that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) erred in declaring Wike governor.

The PDP could not beat Dr. Dakuku Peterside, in a free and fair election, we thank the Justice Ambrosa-led Tribunal for restoring hope to the downtrodden people of Rivers State.

Rivers Election Tribunal: Wike Closes Case

RiversGovernor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, whose election is being challenged at the Rivers State governorship election tribunal in Abuja has finally closed his case having called a total of 24 witnesses.

At the resumed hearing of the petition filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Dakuku Peterside, lawyers to Governor Wike informed the tribunal of their intention not to call additional witnesses saying they have supplied enough evidence before the tribunal to show that Governor Wike won the governorship election conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.

Lawyer to the petitioners, however, said that the early closure of the defence by Governor Wike’s legal team is a plus for the petitioners who are determined to prove their case.

With 15 witnesses called by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prove its case of conducting the election under a peaceful atmosphere and Governor Nyesom Wike calling 24 witnesses, the stage is now set for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to open its defence on the next adjourned date.

Governor Nyesom Wike had insisted that the election was held under a peaceful atmosphere, devoid of any form of electoral violence.

Hearing of the petition continues on Thursday, October 8.

Rivers Election Tribunal: Wike Presents More Witnesses

Rivers-wikeA former National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr. Christopher Iyimoga, has again reaffirmed the testimony of other witnesses to the effect that the April 11 governorship election conducted in Rivers State was devoid of violence.

Testifying before the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja, Dr. Iyimoga claimed that he monitored the election in six Local Government Areas of the state for INEC.

He informed the tribunal that no report was received by the three National Commissioners who monitored the election concerning ballot box snatching, hijacking of electoral materials, or any form of violence.

Other witnesses who also testified before the tribunal, said that the election was generally peaceful during and after the exercise.

Claiming that though the turnout of voters for the election was poor, they were accredited with both the card readers and manually, as there was failure of the card reader in some polling units.

However, the Petitioners Counsel, Akin Olujimi (SAN), who insisted that the election was marred by violence and poor voter turnout, disagreed with the testimony of the witnesses.

Governor Nyesom Wike had insisted that the election was held under a peaceful atmosphere, devoid of any form of electoral violence.

INEC Closes Case In Rivers Election Petition Tribunal

akwa ibom-benue, tribunalThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has announced the closure of their case in the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

At the resumed sitting of the tribunal, lawyer to the electoral umpire, Mr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), informed the tribunal that having called 16 witnesses, the Commission is satisfied with the weight of the evidence given by the witnesses.

He told the tribunal that the Commission does not intend calling more witnesses and as such applied to close their case.

The application was not opposed by the lawyer to the petitioners.

Justice Suleiman Ambrosa consequently adjourned hearing of the petition to September 3o, to enable Governor Nyesom Wike open his defence.

Rivers Governorship Tribunal: Court Dismisses Wike’s Application

WikeThe Rivers State governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has dismissed the motion filed by Governor Nyesom Wike, challenging the power of the Tribunal to sit in Abuja instead of Port Harcourt, the state’s capital.

The Tribunal headed by Justice Muazu Pindga on Monday, ruled that the motion by the Governor and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lacked merit and substance.

Governor Wike and his party wanted the Tribunal to hold in Port Harcourt, where the election in dispute was conducted.

The Governor claimed that the sitting of the Tribunal in Abuja was in breach of section 285 (2) of the 1999 Constitution and provisions of the Electoral Act 2010.

However, in his ruling, Justice Pindiga held that the Tribunal had not violated any provision of the law since the relocation to Abuja was based on security reasons

The Justice disagreed with the claim by the Governor on proximity and accessibility, as the two major factors that ought to have determined the venue of the sitting.

He said: “proximity and accessibility cannot be determined in the absence of security of the Tribunal members and litigants”.

Justice Pindiga also said that the President of the appeal court acted within the ambit of the law which laid emphasis on ensuring a conducive atmosphere for the Tribunal to hold proceedings before it could be set up.

The All Progressives Congress in Rivers State and its candidate in the April 11 governorship election, Mr Peterside Dakuku, had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, the PDP and the Governor of the state, Mr Wike, before the Tribunal to challenge his victory at the election.