The River State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja have annulled the election of Chief Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the April 11, 2015 governorship poll in the State.
The tribunal ordered that elections should be conducted within ninety day in the state.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike have said that they will appeal the judgement of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which ordered fresh governorship election on the basis of the card reader accreditation during the election.
Addressing journalists after the judgement delivered by Justice Suleiman Ambrosa of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Counsel to the PDP, Chris Uche, SAN, declared that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike remains Governor until the appeal processes are exhausted.
He said the nature of the judgement delivered by Justice Ambrosa-led Tribunal makes appeal vital as the new position adopted by the tribunal must be tested in the interest of justice.
Uche (SAN ) noted that the tribunal’s reliance on card reader accreditation to nullify the governorship election when evidence was led by both the Respondents and the petitioners that both card reader and manual accreditation were used for the election requires testing at the Court of Appeal.
He noted that it was shocking that less than 24 hours after lawyers on all sides submitted nine written addresses and documents, the Tribunal sent notice that judgement would be delivered on Saturday morning.
Uche (SAN ) informed that the tribunal was aware that the Supreme Court judgement on the jurisdiction of the tribunal outside of Rivers State would be delivered on Tuesday. He said that the tribunal had 7 days to deliver its judgement, but chose to do so in less than two days.
In its judgement, Justice Suleiman Ambrosa ruled that the card reader accreditation was vital to the election and the votes recorded. He said that the press statement issued by INEC on the matter supersedes the Electoral Act as the card reader was a new introduction that was aimed to promote transparency.
He said on the balance of probability, he is inclined to believe the petitioner witnesses ahead of the witnesses of the Respondents.
The tribunal declared that testimonies of the 56 witnesses called by the petitioner were enough to cover the entire state of 5972 polling units and points.
Justice Ambrosa declared that the documents tendered by APC which the party failed to lead evidence in court were not dumped on it. He however, said that the documents tendered by the Respondents were dumped on it and it would not attach weight to them.
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