Breaking News: Wike loses bid to stop rerun at Appeal Court

Breaking News: Wike loses bid to stop rerun at Appeal Court

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has lost his bid to upturn the verdict of the Rivers State Elections Petitions Tribunal at the Court of Appeal.

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The Tribunal had ordered a rerun of the election in Rivers State, which Wike was pronounced to have won by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Wike had gone to the Court of Appeal to upturn the verdict of the Tribunal.

However, the Court of Appeal affirmed the position of the Tribunal on Wednesday, saying there must be a rerun.

The judgement was based on an Appeal by Wike, dated November  3, 2015 and filed on behalf of the Governor by his counsel, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN).

The governor established  26 grounds of appeal wherein he raised complaint against the entire judgment of the lower tribunal.

Wike’s appeal has the Rivers State All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; the APC; the the Independent National Electoral Commission; and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, 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 which has 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 on May 3, 2015 by Dakuku 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: “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: “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: “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.”

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