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Wike files appeal against judgment of Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal

*asks Court of Appeal  to set aside the judgment, dismiss Rivers State APC petition

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike  has  filed an appeal at the Court of  Appeal, Abuja  Judicial Division,  asking the court to set aside the  judgment  of  the  Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal  which  nullified  his election  on the 24th of October 2015.

 

In a notice of  Appeal dated November  3, 2015 and filed on behalf  of the Governor by his counsel,  Mr  Emmanuel  Ukala, SAN, the governor  established  26 grounds of  appeal wherein he raised complaint against  the  entire  judgment  of  the  lower tribunal.

 

Governor  Wike’s  appeal  has the Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate, Mr Dakuku Peterside, All Progressives Congress, APC,  the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the PDP  as respondents.

 

The  governor  in his notice  of  Appeal  stated: “Take notice  that the Appellant  being dissatisfied with  the  decision of the  Governorship  Election Tribunal for Rivers State, sitting in Abuja,  contained in the  judgment of the  tribunal coram Hon. Justice Suleiman Ambursa  (chairman ), Hon. Justice  Wesley Ibrahim Leha  (member ) and Hon. Justice Bayo Taiwo (member )(sitting in Court no. 23 of the FCT  High  Court dated the 24th of October  2015, doth hereby  appeal  to  the  Court of Appeal upon  the  grounds set out in paragraph  3 and will at the  hearing seek the reliefs set out in paragraph  4”.

 

Governor  Wike sought an order of the Court of  Appeal  allowing his appeal and an order of the Court setting  aside the judgment /decision  of the  Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal.

 

He further urged the  Court of  Appeal to make an “order striking  out or dismissing the election  petition filed o  3rd May 2015 by Mr Dakuku  Peterside Peterside and the  APC as petitioners at the tribunal ”

 

Governor  Wike among other grounds noted that  the  tribunal  erred in law when it relied on hearsay  and inadmissible  evidence to nullify his election. He added that the  finding  and conclusion  of the tribunal  was not supported by evidence  before  the  court.

 

The governor  stated in his notice of  Appeal that : “The Governorship  Election  Tribunal  for Rivers State erred in law when it refused to follow  the  decision  of the  Supreme  Court  in the  case of Kakih  vs  PDP  (2014) 5 NWLR which was duly  cited to it to the  effect that  a party who makes non-voting or misconduct  of an election  the pivot of his case must call at least one disenfranchised  voter from each of the  polling  booths  or units or stations in the constituency “.

 

Governor  Wike  also appealed on the ground  that the Tribunal  nullified  his election  on  the  basis of  card reader accreditation  even though  the  Electoral Act  recognised  manual  accreditation .

 

According  to him, the proof of accreditation of voters under the law is by the production of the register of voters bearing the indications of the presiding officer as to the  persons accredited to vote and not by card reader  report.

 

Governor  Wike  noted in his notice  of  Appeal that : “The Tribunal wrongly  neglected,  failed  and refused to  abide by and follow  the binding decision of the  Court of Appeal in APC vs Olujimi Agbaje : Appeal No: CA/L/EP/GOV./751A/2015 (unreported ) delivered on 26th August,  which was duly cited to it and thereby came to  a wrong conclusion “.

 

He added that the petitioners at the tribunal  failed to  disclose  any reasonable cause of  action  against  the  Respondents and the Tribunal  failed to  conduct a  pre-trial conference  after the removal  of  the  first  chairman,  hence  the  tribunal  erred in  its judgement.

 

The governor  stated that : “The tribunal  wrongly  countenanced the testimony of delegates  of subpoenaed witnesses which  basically  constitutes an indirect alteration of or addition to  the  statement  of  facts of the  petition without  the  leave of the court. The  testimony of these witnesses  runs counter to the  pleaded case of the  petitioners  and contradict the  rest of the evidence of the petitioners witnesses in several  material  particulars “.

 

Simeon Nwakaudu,

Special Assistant  ( Media ) to the Rivers State Governor.

AmarSim Associations Development Consultants

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