Appeal Court Nullifies Wike’s Election

Nyesom WikeThe Court of Appeal has struck out the appeal of Nyesom Wike, seeking a dismissal of the judgment of the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal which sacked him as governor of the state.

The five-man panel of the appellate court held that Mr Wike was not validly elected as governor, having failed to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the electoral guidelines laid down by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The panel dismissed Mr Wike’s appeal for lacking in merit and ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections for the office of the Governor of Rivers State.

Plans To Contest

Governor Wike, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) predicated his appeal on seven grounds.

He asked the Appeal Court to, among other issues, determine whether the Tribunal’s failure to turn down his preliminary objection did not amount to denying him an opportunity to fair hearing.

He urged the court to overturn the verdict of the Tribunal on the ground that he was denied pre-hearing conference.

Mr Wike also asked the court to set aside the verdict of the Tribunal on the ground that Mr Peterside Dakuku of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lacked the locus standi to challenge the outcome of the election in addition to his claim that the Tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to hear the petition.

At the hearing on Wednesday, one after the other, the five man appeal panel knocked out the grounds of appeal saying Mr Wike was never validly elected as the Governor of Rivers State‎.

Although the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party was not in court, the chairman of the APC in Rivers State, Dr Davis Ikanya, applauded the verdict of the Appeal Court.

Lawyer to the APC, Emeka Ngige, also applauded the verdict of the court.

After the judgement was delivered, the counsel to the PDP and Mr Wike, Mr Ifedao Adedipe, announced plans to contest the verdict of the court.

With the Supreme Court as the terminal point for governorship election petitions, the last may not have been heard of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in rivers state.‎

The Election Petition Tribunal headed by Justice Suleiman Ambrosa had, in a judgment on October 24 voided Wike’s election and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in the state.

‎The Tribunal in its ruling stated that the characters of voters called by Mr Wike were impugned under cross-examination and that it agreed that the evidence of the witnesses of Wike and INEC was incredible and unreliable.

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.