- Umahi, Dankwambo, Amosun too
In what appeared to be a veiled hope to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Supreme Court yesterday upheld the election of Governor Nyesom Wike in the April 11governorship election in Rivers State.
The apex court which was presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, also upheld the election of Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State and David Umahi of Ebonyi State, respectively.
The court in a unanimous decision, set aside the earlier judgement of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which sat in Abuja and the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, nullifying the election that produced Wike and ordered for a re-run.
In a lead judgement read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the apex court said it will give reasons for its judgement on February 12.
The first appeal was filed by Wike, challenging the judgement of the tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
The second appeal was filed by the PDP, while the third was filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, all challenging the judgement of the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
The apex court allowed the three appeals and dismissed the objections raised by All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside.
Earlier, parties in the suit had adopted their briefs.
Wike was represented by Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, PDP was represented by Wole Olanipekun, SAN, while Onyechi Ikpeazu, also a SAN, represented INEC.
Similarly, Chief Akin Olujinmi represented Dakuku while Yusuf Ali, SAN represented APC.
Dakuku and his party had approached the election tribunal seeking to nullify the election on grounds of violence and other electoral malpractices.
The Tribunal had on October 24, 2015 cancelled the election and ordered a re-run within 90 days.
Not satisfied, Wike, PDP and INEC approached the appellate court to challenge the decision.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division on December 16, dismissed Wike’s appeal and upheld the decision of the tribunal, but still not satisfied, Wike, PDP and INEC approached the Supreme Court seeking to set aside the judgement.
Meanwhile, the apex court held that it will give the reason for its judgement on the Ebonyi governorship tussle on the 5 of February. In the case of Dankwambo of Gombe state, the petitioner yesterday withdrew his petition because it has been over taken by event.
…My victory is for the rule of law, people of Rivers State – Gov Wike
Meanwhile, Governor Wike has described his victory at the Supreme Court as a victory for the rule of law and the people of Rivers State.
Governor Wike added that the Supreme Court judgment is a victory for democracy and a confirmation that the will of God will always prevail over the machinations of men.
In a statement issued by Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Wike said that the judgment of the Supreme Court validating his election is a confirmation of the mandate freely given to him by the people of the state.
Governor Wike trekked on the streets of Port Harcourt before ending up at the Government House. As he walked the streets, he was greeted by celebrating Rivers people.
While assuring the people of Rivers State that his victory at the Supreme Court will lead to greater delivery of democracy dividends across the state, Wike extended a hand of fellowship to the Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate, Dakuku Peterside to join hands with his administration to develop the state.
He praised the APC governorship candidate for approaching the Judiciary, instead of embarking on violence.
He stated that the people of Rivers State will continue to benefit from the pro-people projects and programmes of his administration as he is determined to always live up to the social contract he entered with the Rivers people.
Governor Wike specially thanked all Rivers people for their faith in him and his administration.