Rivers guber: INEC appeals against judgment of election tribunal

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ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has formally filed an appeal against the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal nullifying the election of Governor Nyesom Wike.
INEC appeal dated 4th of November, 2015 was filed at the Court of  Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division on 5th November, 2015.
In a 12-ground appeal filed on behalf  of INEC  by her counsel, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, the electoral umpire 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 tribunal erred in law when it failed to evaluate the evidence of each of the witness 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”.
INEC 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.
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 th the  proceedings, the subject matter of the reports cannot be substitute 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 “.
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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 Nyesom Wike.

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