Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, has stated that neither him nor any member of the Assembly was sacked by the Elections Petitions Tribunal on Monday.
Ibani’s statement yesterday was on the heels of the judgement of the tribunal which nullified the elections of the Speaker and 20 other lawmakers of the State Assembly.
Addressing journalists at the Assembly complex, the speaker, representing Andoni Constituency, said the Tribunal gave judgement and ordered a re-run within 90 days.
He said: “I heard over the news that the Speaker and 20 others have been sacked by the Election Tribunal. No member, not even the Speaker has been sacked. The lower Tribunal gave judgement in their opinion. In their judgement they argued that there should be a rerun within 90days.
“The Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani was not sacked by any election petition tribunal, and none of the members were sacked by the election petition Tribunal. I am still the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, and the members still remain members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“The whole world knows that the election was conducted in the State on April 11. The whole world knows as well that INEC prepared for the election for a long period. Because we have faith in the judiciary system, we have faith in the judges and justices we have in Nigeria, we believe that our case will not be different.”
Igbani disclosed that the lawmakers had directed their counsels to appeal the matter, expressing optimism in the credibility of the judiciary to deliver unbiased verdicts.
He expressed: “We have strong faith in the Nigerian state and its judicial system. We believe, as legislators, that conscience not placed on the canvass of justice is unconscionable. We believe that same principles in law should be applied in all circumstance.
“The judicial procedure of the Nigerian system is such that, when the lower tribunal gives its judgement, you have the right to appeal. And that we have done. We have directed our lawyers to file notices of appeal. That we have done.”
Fielding questions from journalists, the speaker argued why different principles on a similar circumstance should play out in the Tribunals’ judgements.
Ibani wondered: “We believe that if a particular principle was applied in some situations in the North or West, it should also apply in the South-South. If Ambode (Governor of Lagos State) could be elected without voters using card readers, why shouldn’t Wike? Justice is one element that keeps the faith of the people of a nation. It is my plea that wherever we find ourselves as people of Nigeria, the Nigerian state should give us justice.”