Rivers guber poll: Wike files appeal against tribunal judgment

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ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike  has filed an appeal at the Court of  Appeal, Abuja,  asking the court to set aside the judgment  of  the  Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal  which  nullified  his election  on October 24.
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, Dr. 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 comprising Hon. Justice Suleiman Ambursa  (chairman ), Hon. Justice  Wesley Ibrahim Leha  (member ) and Hon. 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”.
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 o  3rd May 2015 by Mr Dakuku Peterside and the  APC as petitioners at the tribunal.”
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 “.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560”]
The governor  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.
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.”

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