A former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, and a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Rivers State, OCJ Okocha has boasted that the PDP will defeat its closest rival, the All Progressives Congress, APC, if elections are re-conducted in the State.
Okocha, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, has been a strong ally of Governor Nyesom Wike.
Speaking to the media in Port Harcourt, the Legal luminary faulted the judgment of the Justice Ambrossa-led Rivers State elections petition tribunal.
Expressing hope that the Appeal Court will correct the perceived wrong done by the tribunal, Okocha said he was disappointed on the basis by which the panel nullified the election.
The former Attorney General of Rivers State, whose sister is currently the Acting Chief Judge of the state, maintained that River State “is a PDP state”, adding, “the President cannot dictate who should be voted for by the people of Nigeria.”
“I have not gone through the judgment, but I have read and heard from others who have read the judgment and from commentators, that the main
ground upon which the judgment was delivered was that INEC officials did not comply with their regulation, which stipulated that they should accredit voters with the card reader machine.
“And that having failed to do so, they ought to have postponed the election to the next day instead of going ahead with manual accreditation.
“Electoral Act provides for manual accreditation. You have to come there physically and show your voter’s card. I personally cannot understand why the failure of INEC to observe its own internal regulation is what is being visited upon us; and upon our party, and upon our Governor by the nullification of the election.
“Nobody ever alleged malpractices, the other thing they alleged was that the election was marred by violence and thuggery. That is a criminal conduct and
in my own understanding, that is a fact that has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. I am baffled why the panel based judgment on card reader after a superior court has ruled on it.
“We have what is called hierarchy of courts and principle of judicial precedence which dictates that if a superior court has taken a particular decision on a particular issue, every lower court is bound to follow that decision.
“The President cannot dictate who should be voted for by the people of Nigeria, particularly by the people of Rivers State. I maintain it that this state is a PDP state. If the election is conducted afresh and as many as one hundred times, the PDP will still prevail.
“APC is not on ground here (Rivers state). What we had before was a surrogate APC government because the governor and some lawmakers elected on PDP platform
defected towards the end of their tenure.
“PDP will win every election conducted in the state at this present time. Federal might from Abuja cannot determine how the people will vote. I know that people rig elections but if you are strong on the
ground, nobody can rig the election.
“There is no way a minority party will override the majority party. The challenge is to have this decision of the tribunal upturned by the Court of Appeal”, he stated.


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