The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday closed its defence of the victory of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in the April 11 governorship election, declaring that the 16 witnesses called by the commission were targeted at all locations where Rivers State APC claimed the governorship election did not hold. At the resumed sitting of the Justice Suleiman Ambrosa-led tribunal sitting in Abuja yesterday, INEC noted that on the strength of her witnesses and relevant documents tendered it has proved that the election was held peacefully and in line with the Electoral Act and INEC guidelines. Ruling on the INEC application for the closure of their defence, Justice Suleiman Ambrosa, Chairman of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, adjourned sitting to today. The Tribunal chairman announced that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike will open his defense today.
Addressing journalists after closing INEC’S defence, Counsel to INEC, Onyechi Ikpeazu ( SAN ), explained that the number of witnesses called by the commission were in line with the allegations made by the Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate, Mr Dakuku Peterside and the areas where he called witnesses.
He said : “We are satisfied that the 16 witnesses who conducted the Rivers State Governorship Election in communities where the petitioner had alleged violence are enough to prove that the election held successfully, contrary to their allegations.
“Witnesses are not called for the fun of it, but for the specific purpose of proving our case.” The INEC counsel added that aside INEC other respondents, Governor Wike and the PDP have their own witnesses to call.
The 16 witnesses called by INEC spread across 10 Local Government Areas in the three Senatorial districts of Rivers State. All the witnesses maintained that the governorship election was peaceful, credible, free and fair.
They berated a few soldiers and mobile policemen and security agents invited by the petitioner as witnesses for lying when they did not participate in the election. The INEC witnesses comprised LGA Electoral Officers and Presiding Officers. Hearing resumes today at the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

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