By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA—The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, yesterday, reserved judgment in the appeal by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.

Wike, the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is praying the appellate court to set-aside the verdict of the  Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which nullified the  outcome of the April 11 governorship poll that  brought him to power.

Respondents in the appeal are the All Progressives Congress, APC, its governorship candidate in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the PDP.

Wike and Peterside
Wike and Peterside

The matter was reserved for judgement after all parties adopted their final written addresses, yesterday.

Wike is praying the appellate court to upturn  the judgement that was delivered against him by the Justice Ambrosa Suleiman-led tribunal on October 24, saying it was “perverse and legally defective.”

In the appeal by his counsel, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, Wike formulated 26 grounds he said the appellate court should consider in determining whether or not the verdict of the tribunal was anchored on the weight of evidence laid before it, as well as on sound interpretation of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.

Wike told the appellate court that he was dissatisfied with the entire judgement of the lower tribunal.

He also wants the appellate court to “strike  out or dismiss the election  petition filed on May 3,  2015, by Mr. Peterside and the APC as petitioners at the tribunal.“

Among other grounds, Wike argued that the tribunal  erred in law when it relied on hearsay and inadmissible  evidence to nullify his election.

He insisted that the finding  and conclusion  of the tribunal  was not supported by evidence before  the  court.

According to him, “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.”

Governor  Wike 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.


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