Fresh election in 90 days
Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has reassured the Rivers people and its supporters across the state that notwithstanding the ruling of the election petitions tribunal, nullifying the State Governorship election and ordering for fresh election therein, Chief Barrister Nyesom Wike still remains the Executive Governor of the State.
Reacting to what it called a travesty of justice and rape on democracy, the state party chairman, Chief Felix Obuah, said no matter the degree of conspiracy by the All Progressives Congress, APC-led federal government, the falsehood and gang-up against Rivers people will amount to a nullity in the end.
Urging the Rivers people not to panic over the pre-empted judgment, which he alleged had been decided long before the written addresses by the parties were adopted Thursday, October 22, 2015.
Obuah cited section 143, subsection 1 of the Electoral Act 2010, which guarantees an elected governor to stay in office and continue to execute his duties as the state chief executive as long as a notice of appeal is given against the judgment within 21 days from the date of the judgment notwithstanding the decision of the election tribunal.
According to the party, “and not minding the certainty of winning any future elections in the State against the conspirators,” the state PDP chairman said this is one tribunal judgment that will never stand, stressing that the PDP will get to any legal height possible to fight the injustice.
“There is no other reason the tribunal hurriedly delivered the contraption it called judgment in less than 24 hours, after adopting the written addresses on a matter that lasted over four months than to pre-empt the judgment of the Supreme Court against the tribunal by the PDP which comes up next week Tuesday, the Chairman noted.
“The good thing is that by the hurried judgment, the tribunal chairman has exposed his partiality and shot himself in the leg by defying all legal procedures and going ahead to deliver judgment on the APC petition when there is an impending matter hinging on the appeal at the Supreme Court just as he refused to vacate his seat as chairman of the election petitions tribunal for the State Governorship Election Petitions despite PDP’s resentment on questions of integrity and impartiality.
Notwithstanding all this, in the end we shall have the last laugh,” Bro Obuah declared.
“Men have today Saturday, October 24, 2015, after being compromised, serve their immoral judgment, God would soon give justice in the governorship election in Rivers State” Obuah assured.
Meanwhile, Counsel to the PDP, Chris Uche, SAN, declared that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike remains governor until the appeal processes are exhausted.
He said the nature of the judgment delivered by Justice Ambrosa-led tribunal makes appeal vital, as the new position adopted by the tribunal must be tested in the interest of justice.
Uche (SAN) noted that the tribunal’s reliance on card reader accreditation to nullify the governorship election when both the respondents and the petitioners said that both card reader and manual accreditation were used for the election led evidence requires testing at the Court of Appeal.
He said it was shocking that less than 24 hours after lawyers on all sides submitted nine written addresses and documents, the tribunal sent notice that judgment would be delivered yesterday morning.
Uche (SAN) informed that the tribunal was aware that the Supreme Court judgment on the jurisdiction of the tribunal outside of Rivers State would be delivered on Tuesday noting that the tribunal had seven days to deliver its judgment, but chose to do so in less than two days.
In its judgment, Justice Suleiman Ambrosa ruled that the card reader accreditation was vital to the election and the votes recorded.
He said that the press statement issued by INEC on the matter supersedes the Electoral Act, as the card reader was a new introduction that was aimed to promote transparency.
The tribunal declared that testimonies of the 56 witnesses called by the petitioner were enough to cover the entire state of 5,972 polling units and points and said the documents tendered by APC, which the party failed to lead evidence in court, were not dumped on it.
He however, said that the documents tendered by the Respondents were dumped on it and it would not attach weight to the documents.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday recalls that the tribunal had on Friday fixed yesterday to deliver its judgment on the petition barely 24 hours after receiving final submissions.
The Justice Mohammed Ambrosa-led tribunal issued notice of the judgment barely 24 hours after parties adopted their final written addresses on Thursday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Wike winner of the election with 1,029,102 votes as against Peterside’s 124,896.
But the petitioners, through their petition filed on May 3, urged the tribunal to nullify the election in the entire 23 local government areas of the state and ordered a fresh one on the account of alleged substantial non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act and Manual for Election Officers 2015.
The petitioners, who called 56 witnesses within 10 days allotted to them, alleged that various acts of non-compliance include “non-accreditation/improper accreditation, failure to use card reader, resort to manual accreditation, non-signing of forms EC8A by any party agent and signing of forms EC8A by only PDP agents.”
Fresh election in 90 days