Rivers State National Assembly ‎Election Petition Tribunal yesterday upheld the election of Senator Olaka Johnson Nwogo, representing Rivers South East senatorial district in the Senate.
The tribunal sitting in Abuja dismissed the petition brought against the election of Senator Nwogo by Senator Magnus Abe and his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, to challenge the validity of the declaration of Nwogo as winner.
Justice Mohammed Sifawa, who delivered judgment in the npetition held that Magnus Abe and APC failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt their allegation that there was no election at the senatorial district in the March 28 National Assembly election.
The judge also held that, rather than proving the allegation, the petitioner went out of his way by blowing hot and cold at the same time on the election issue.
According to the tribunal chairman, in one breath, the petitioner claimed that there was no election in the senatorial district and in another breath, the same petitioner tendered documents from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on how election materials were shared on the election day.
Justice Sifawa said that it was wrong in law for the petitioner to be speaking from both sides of his mouth as he tendered documents from election he claimed never held.
The tribunal said the petitioner failed to call at least one witness from the over 1,400 polling units in his senatorial district to substantiate his allegation that there was no election.
The tribunal also noted that the few witnesses called by the petitioner to prove his allegation missed the target in their evidence by emphasizing on non relevant issues.
“From the totality of evidence before this tribunal we are convinced that the petitioner did not do the needful as he failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt his sole allegation that election did not hold in his constituency in the March 28 National Assembly Election.”
“By his failure to establish a prima facie case that there was no election in his constituency, this tribunal has no option than to disregard his allegation in its entirety.
“This petition is liable to dismissal and is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit.”
Reacting to the judgment, Senator Abe vowed to go to Appeal Court to test the popularity of the verdict against his petition.
He alleged that tribunal was not fair to him by giving him only five days within which to call witnesses from the over 1,400 polling units which in practical terms was impossible to be done.
‘‘There is a case of lack of fair hearing because I was not given enough time to call my witnesses to prove my case in the petition, so I will be in Court of Appeal to challenge the tribunal decision,” he said.

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