…INEC to conduct fresh election within 90 days.
The Rivers state governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja has nullified the election of Nyesom Wike as governor of the state.
The tribunal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh governorship election in the state. Suleiman Ambrousa, chairman of the tribunal, began delivering the judgment at 10:15am after the lawyers of Wike (second respondent) and Dakuku Peterside, the petitioner and Rivers state governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), announced their appearance for their clients.
The three-man tribunal held that Wike was not duly elected governor of Rivers state, adding that the election was flawed based on evidence presented to it. It therefore ruled that a fresh election be conducted in the state within 90 days.
Peterside had presented 56 witnesses who testified against Wike. Some of the witnesses were directly involved in the April 11 governorship election in the state. Wike, on the other hand, presented 24 witnesses, but the tribunal held that their testimonies were weak, and as such could not prove the governor’s case beyond reasonable doubt.
The tribunal also held that Wike’s witnesses made contradictory statements, further complicating the defendant’s case. In its two-hour judgment, the tribunal also dismissed Wike’s petition over the power of the tribunal to entertain the case.
Wike, who was announced as winner of the governorship election back in April, said he would appeal against the judgment.
The premises of the tribunal at Apo in Abuja erupted in violence-free tumult, as supporters of the PDP chanted solidarity songs for Wike while those of the APC went into wild jubilation