Tribunal affirms Wike as duly elected governor, dismisses AAC, ADP suits

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TRACKING >The Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, yesterday, dismissed petitions filed by candidates of the African Action Congress (AAC) and that of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) against Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

The tribunal hinged its decision to dismiss the petitions on the grounds that the governorship candidates of the ADP, Mr. Victor Fingesi, and Biokpomabo Awara of the AAC failed to prove that Wike did not score the highest number of lawful votes during the March 9, 2019 governorship election.

In a judgment that spanned over seven hours cumulatively, the tribunal affirmed “the election of Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as duly elected,” adding that both petitioners failed to prove their petitions beyond reasonable doubt.

It also stressed that the petitioners also failed to adduce evidence to prove that the election was marred by violence and irregularities.

Justice K. B. Olawoyin, who delivered the judgment in the AAC’s case, declared that Governor Wike won 19 out of the 21 local councils, where elections held, while the petitioner won in only two local councils.

He explained that Awara failed to call any witness to give credible evidence that there were malpractices during the election, which favoured Wike.

The tribunal declared that what was suspended was the collation of results for six local councils, and that as at the time of the suspension of collation of results, INEC had concluded collation of results in 17 local councils.

It added that the results tendered by Awara while giving evidence were inadmissible and therefore expunged from the records.

The judge said Awara failed to call his polling unit agents and that the results tendered by him had no names of polling unit agents, no signatures of polling units agents, and had no INEC stamp. The tribunal therefore declared the said results inadmissible and of no value.

According to the tribunal, aside the names of the witnesses and their respective wards, the witness statements of all of them were the same and each had seven paragraphs.

On his part, Justice Kingsley Orjiako, while delivering judgment in the suit filed by Fingesi, described his petition as an adventure to discover the non-existent because it lacked the locus standi to file the petition in the first place.