- Says Court erred by rejecting evidences of Commission, PDP, Wike
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday formally filed an appeal against the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal nullifying the election of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
The electoral body filed her appeal, dated 4th of November, 2015 at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division on Thursday, the 5th of November.
In a 12-ground appeal filed on behalf of INEC by her counsel, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, the electoral body challenged the entirety of the tribunal’s judgment.
The reliefs sought by INEC in her appeal include: “an order allowing the appeal, an order setting aside the decision of the tribunal and an order dismissing the petition as lacking in merit”.
According to INEC, the learned justices of the tribunal erred in law when it failed to evaluate the evidence of each of the witnesses called by the petitioners before reaching its decision.
INEC stated that: “The tribunal was obligated to making findings as to where elections were said to have held on the one part and where they were alleged not to have held on the other part”.
The electoral body further stated that the tribunal erred when it resorted to generic declaration like “many instances”, when the justices were obligated to specify where the evidence elicited under cross examination enhanced the case of the first and second respondents.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, further stated that the tribunal erred when it used the testimonies of witnesses who were not at polling
stations to nullify the Rivers governorship election.
INEC, in her appeal stated: “Evidence of reports at an election by persons who did not make them and who did not observe the proceedings, the subject matter of the reports cannot be substituted for evidence of witnesses in the polling units of Rivers State.
“Exhibits A303-A305, A307 and A2 are documentary hearsay which ought not to be relied upon as proof of the allegations of non-conduct and improper conduct of election in the polling units in Rivers State.”
INEC stated that the tribunal disregarded Section 49 (1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended which is a statutory provision binding on it. The electoral body further stated that the decision of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal on the law were duly cited to the tribunal, but it ignored same.
According to INEC, there was no due evaluation of the 56 witnesses called by the petitioners pointing out that the witnesses who testified did not link their testimonies to the documents tendered.
INEC added that the tribunal erred in law when it failed to indicate that the petitioners failed to prove their case on a polling unit by polling unit basis as required by law.
The electoral body added that the tribunal erred when it failed to demonstrate the reasons why it rejected the evidences professed by witnesses of INEC, PDP and Governor Wike.