Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Appeal Court upholds tribunal’s judgment nullifying Wike’s election


The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which nullified the election of Nyesom Wike as governor of the state.

The five-man‎ panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice M.B Dongban-Mensen in its judgment dismissed the appeals filed by Wike and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, against the judgment of the tribunal on the grounds that they lacked merit.

‎In the judgment read by the Presiding Justice, Donghan-Messen, the appeal court held that the tribunal was right to have held that the All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate in the April 11, 2015 election, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, had satisfactorily proved their petition that the poll was conducted in substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The appeal court, which resolved all the seven issues formulated in the appeal against the appellants, ‎held that the non-usage of the smart card reader and disregard by officials of INEC in Rivers State on the commission’s directive on the mandatory use of the card reader machine was a direct violation of the Electoral Act.

The appellate court also held that contrary to the contention of Wike and PDP‎, the manual and guidelines issued by INEC for the conduct of the 2015 general election were in conformity with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

Wike and the PDP still have the opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal had in October nullified the April 11 governorship.
The tribunal had also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a fresh election within 90 ‎days.

This followed a petition by the All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside, alleging that the election was characterised by widespread electoral malpractices.

In nullifying the election, the Justice Suleiman Ambrosa led-tribunal said the evidence provided by Wike and INEC’s witnesses was not credible.

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