- Asks Court to set aside judgement
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division, asking the court to set aside the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal which nullified his election on the 24th of October 2015.
In a notice of Appeal dated November 3, 2015 and filed on behalf of the Governor by his counsel, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, the governor established 26 grounds of appeal wherein he raised complaint against the entire judgment of the lower tribunal.
Governor Wike’s appeal has the Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate, Mr. Dakuku Peterside, All Progressives Congress, APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the PDP as respondents.
The governor in his notice of Appeal stated: “Take notice that the Appellant being dissatisfied with the decision of the Governorship Election Tribunal for Rivers State, sitting in Abuja, contained in the judgment of the tribunal coram Justice Suleiman Ambursa (chairman ), Justice Wesley Ibrahim Leha (member ) and Justice Bayo Taiwo (member )(sitting in Court no. 23 of the FCT High Court dated the 24th of October 2015, doth hereby appeal to the Court of Appeal upon the grounds set out in paragraph 3 and will at the hearing seek the reliefs set out in paragraph 4”.
Governor Wike sought an order of the Court of Appeal allowing his appeal and an order of the Court setting aside the judgment /decision of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal.
He further urged the Court of Appeal to make an “order striking out or dismissing the election petition filed on 3rd May 2015 by Mr. Dakuku Peterside and the APC as petitioners at the tribunal “.
Governor Wike among other grounds noted that the tribunal erred in law when it relied on hearsay and inadmissible evidence to nullify his election.
He added that the finding and conclusion of the tribunal was not supported by evidence before the court.
The governor stated in his notice of Appeal that : “The Governorship Election Tribunal for Rivers State erred in law when it refused to follow the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Kakih vs PDP (2014) 5 NWLR which was duly cited to it to the effect that a party who makes non-voting or misconduct of an election the pivot of his case must call at least one disenfranchised voter from each of the polling booths or units or stations in the constituency “.
Governor Wike also appealed on the ground that the Tribunal nullified his election on the basis of card reader accreditation even though the Electoral Act recognised manual accreditation .
According to him, the proof of accreditation of voters under the law is by the production of the register of voters bearing the indications of the presiding officer as to the persons accredited to vote and not by card reader report.
Governor Wike noted in his notice of Appeal that : “The Tribunal wrongly neglected, failed and refused to abide by and follow the binding decision of the Court of Appeal in APC vs Olujimi Agbaje : Appeal No: CA/L/EP/GOV./751A/2015 (unreported ) delivered on 26th August, which was duly cited to it and thereby came to a wrong conclusion “.
He added that the petitioners at the tribunal failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action against the Respondents and the Tribunal failed to conduct a pre-trial conference after the removal of the first chairman, hence the tribunal erred in its judgement.
The governor stated that : “The tribunal wrongly countenanced the testimony of delegates of subpoenaed witnesses which basically constitutes an indirect alteration of or addition to the statement of facts of the petition without the leave of the court.
The testimony of these witnesses runs counter to the pleaded case of the petitioners and contradict the rest of the evidence of the petitioners witnesses in several material particulars “.