Thursday, 28 January 2016

Supreme Court affirms victory Gov. Wike of Rivers

The Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed the election of Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of Rivers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that by by this decision, the apex court set aside the Dec. 16, 2015 decision of the Court of Appeal Abuja.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Kekere Ekun, said that the reasons for affirming the election of the appellant (Wike) would given on Feb. 12.
``We have gone through the addresses of all the parties in this matter and the Court holds that the appeal is meritorious.
``In the light of this, the return of Gov. Nyesom Wike as governor of Rivers State by INEC is hereby restored and parties are to bear their cost,’’ Ekun held.
NAN reports that the other six justices, including the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed agreed with the lead judgment.
Wike had approached the apex Court urging it to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal which ordered a re-run of the state’s governorship election.
During the adoption of written addresses, Mr Emmanuel Kala (SAN), counsel to the governor, said that the first respondent (Dakuku Peterside of the APC) was offered a relief he did not pray for in the lower court.
Kala described the decision of the lower as `perversion of justice’, adding that all the respondents could not prove the allegations of violence and over voting.
On his part, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) counsel to APC candidate Dakuku Peterside said that his team was able to prove allegations of violence and over voting that marred the conduct of the election.
Chief Yusuf Ali (SAN), counsel to the APC, argued that INEC was unable to justify the difference between the 295,000 voters captured in the reader card and the 1.2 million votes that resulted from the election.
He said that the Court of Appeal also discarded the evidence of witnesses brought by Wike and PDP due to their misdemeanor.
According to Ali, the witnesses brought by the appellant to testify were schooled to come and mislead the court.
However, Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), counsel to INEC, opposed the submission of both Dakuku and APC, adding that the evidence of INEC staff at the lower court was his personal opinion.
Ikpeazu said the Commission conducted free, credible and fair election in the state, adding that the court should uphold the victory of the governor in that poll.
The apex court upheld the cross appeal of the PDP in respect of the election filed by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN).
In delivering the judgment Justice Kumai Akas held that the appeal had merit.
The PDP cross-appeal had challenged the conduct of the alleged shoddy handling of the petition at the tribunal.
Olanipekun said the tribunal declined to conduct a transparent exercise, adding that all the evidences brought by the PDP and its candidate were not scrutinised.
Olanipekun further held that Dakuku and the APC failed to advance sufficient evidence to substantiate allegations of violence and over voting.
In another development, the apex court also upheld the election of Dave Umahi as governor of Ebonyi State.
Chief Edward Nkwegu of the Labour Party (LP) had filed the appeal against the governor.
The Supreme Court reserved Feb 5 to provide reasons for its decision.
In a similar vein, the election of Ibikunle Amusu as governor of Ogun State was also affirmed by the apex court.
The court also reserved Feb.12 to give reasons for its decision.
However, the apex court refused to entertain an appeal filed against the election of Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo as governor of Gombe State.
In enforcing the withdrawal of the appeal, the CJN held that the Supreme Court would be tempted to over rule itself as the matter had been decided.
Justice Mohammed held that the apex court on Jan.20 upheld the election of the governor and would not be dragged into entertaining a fresh appeal against the conduct of the poll.
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