Wike, Peterside Dakuku Know Fate Today

by on October 24, 2015

The Rivers State Governorship elections petition tribunal sitting in the Apo Area of the Federal Capital Territory has commenced delivering of judgment in the petition filed by APC and Dakuku Peterside challenging the victory of Barrister Nyesome Wike in the April 11, 2015 election Governorship Elections held in Rivers State?

The judgment which commenced at 10: 06 is still been delivered as the Chairman of the three man panel Justice Suleiman Ambrossa is still reading out the preliminary arguments including the review of all evidences tendered by all parties alongside the witnesses statements on oath

The Justice Mohammed Ambrossa-led tribunal on Friday is­sued notice of the judgment barely 24 hours after parties adopted their final written addresses on Thursday.

The Independent Nation­al Electoral Commission had de­clared Wike winner of the election with 1,029,102 votes as against Pe­terside’s 124,896.

But the petitioners, through their petition filed on May 3, urged the tribunal to nullify the election in the entire 23 local government areas of the state and order fresh one on the account of alleged sub­stantial non-compliance with pro­visions of the Electoral Act and Manual for Election Officers 2015.

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The petitioners, who called 56 witnesses within 10 days allotted to them, alleged that various acts of non-compliance include “non-ac­creditation/improper accreditation, failure to use card reader, resort to manual accreditation, non-signing of forms EC8A by any party agent and signing of forms EC8A by only PDP agents.”

They are alleged that the poll was marred by unauthenticated alterations in Forms EC8A, issu­ance of ballot papers in excess of 100 leaves per booklet, one PDP collation agent signing for sever­al wards, presiding officer signing for party agents, voter signing for party agent and absence of colla­tion at ward collation centers and many more.

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Counsel for the petitioners, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), ar­gued that the resort to manual ac­creditation lacked legal justification when INEC had directed that card reader machine should be exclu­sively used for accreditation.

He argued that there were only 293,072 accredited voters compris­ing those whose Permanent Voter Cards were read, but whose fin­gerprints could not be verified by the card reader, Wike and other re­spondents failed to justify the to­tal accreditation of total 1,228,614 votes.

But the respondents – INEC, Wike and PDP –, who jointly called 40 witnesses, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds that it was constituted by unfound­ed allegations which the petitioners failed to establish.

Wike’s lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), argued that Peter­side was not qualified to contest the April 11 election because he was sponsored by the APC in con­travention of Section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act.

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Ukala argued that the petition­ers failed to call witnesses who con­ducted the election; a development which he said was fatal to their case.

PDP’s lawyer, Chief Wole Ola­nipekun (SAN), maintained that the petition was incompetent and the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to amend the petition which he said was replete with some bogus and unproved prayers reliefs.

INEC’s lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ik­peazu (SAN), argued that the peti­tioners failed to prove the alleged irregularities and electoral irregu­larities polling unit by polling unit, which is the standard of proof set by the Supreme Court.

 Edited by Omolara Adegoke – Abuja

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