Tribunal upholds Rivers governor’s re-election, dismisses PPP’s petition

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The Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal has dismissed the petition filed by the Rivers State Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Mr Clifford Edanuko against the election of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

Ruling on a motion filed by the Rivers State Governorship Candidate of PPP, the Chairman of the Rivers State Governorship Tribunal on Tuesday, Justice JA Orjiako dismissed the petition and confirmed Governor Wike as the duly re-elected Governor of Rivers State.

Justice Orjiako also agreed with counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN), counsel to Governor Wike, Chief Okey Wali (SAN) and Counsel to PDP, Ken Njamanze (SAN) that there were no illegal terms of withdrawal.

The Tribunal ruled that Petition Number EPT/RS/GOV/O5/2015 stands dismissed, following the motion on notice filed by the petitioner on 23rd July, 2019 for the discontinuation of the matter.

Moving the motion for discontinuance, counsel to the petitioner, E. Paul MasiChi said he had instruction of the petitioner to withdraw the petition.

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In an affidavit filed before the Tribunal, he said that the petitioner withdrew the petition so that governance will flow without any distraction in Rivers State.

He said: “We are all Rivers people. The petitioner is a Rivers man. He has looked at it and said let’s give peace a chance. The peace we are enjoying in Rivers State today is what everyone is happy about. It will not serve the interest of the state to continue this legal tussle”.

Counsel to Rivers State Governor, Chief Okey Wali (SAN) said that it was gracious of the petitioner to withdraw the petition because his political party (PPP) is interested in the political stability of Rivers State.

In an interview, counsel to INEC, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) said that all parties were in Court to adopt their written addresses, when the petitioner announced his withdrawal of the petition.

He said INEC did not oppose the withdrawal of the petition because it was in line with its submission to the Tribunal.

He said that the Tribunal was right to have dismissed the petition.

Counsel to the PDP, Ken Njamanze (SAN) said that he believes that wise counsel prevailed, hence the petitioner resolved to withdraw the petition.

“We as respondents did not oppose that application and we believe that it is a good development. It is good for the people of Rivers State to move forward peacefully “, he said.

The Peoples Progressive Party had asked the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal to nullify the Rivers State Governorship Election on the allegation that it was unlawfully excluded from the poll by INEC. With the dismissal of the PPP petition, only the petition filed by Mr Victor Fingesi of ADP is yet to be determined by the Tribunal.

It will be recalled that INEC declared Governor Wike re-elected after he polled 886,264 votes, while his closest challenger of African Alliance Congress (AAC) Biokpomabo Awara, scored 173,859 votes.

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