Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Port Harcourt, on Saturday, dismissed the petition by the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its governorship candidate, Victor Fingesi, challenging the victory of Governor Nyesom Wike in the March 9, 2019 election.
The three-man panel, led by Justice Kingsley A. Ojiako, dismissed the petition on lack of merit.
The ADP candidate had filed the petition on April 18, 2019, praying the court to nullify the election.
The ADP’s candidate had 1806 votes in the election while Wike had 886,264 votes.
Counsel to ADP, Dolapo-Tella Attoni, had, in their eight grounds of petition, argued that the Peoples Democratic Party candidate (Wike) was not duly elected for a second tenure in the said election, saying that the result declared by INEC was null and void.
The ADP’s Lawyer also told the court that the election was marred by violence and snatching of electoral materials, stressing that there was no election in the state.
Delivering his judgement that lasted three hours, Justice Kingsley A. Ojiako, ruled that the petition by the ADP lacked merit, adding that the petitioner lacked locus standi to argue the position in court.
Justice Ojiako ruled that the petitioner fails to present any reasonable cause of actions against the 2nd respondent (Wike).
The court ruled that during cross examination of the 2nd petitioner (Fingesi), he could not prove that there was no election in the state.
He stated that the petitioner could not also tell the court the number of voters in his polling unit in Okujiagu, Port Harcourt Local Government Area, or was he able to prove to the court that election did not hold in other polling units in the area.
Justice Ojiako further ruled that the petitioner failed to prove to the court that the INEC election guidelines were not followed or that there was widespread disruption of the election by violence or that the 2nd respondent did not merit result declared in his favour.
The court further noted that there was no evidence of the said inflated votes for the 2nd respondent, arguing that the result by INEC showed that the 2nd respondent won the election.
The tribunal upheld that, by law, the Independent National Electoral Commission had the right to suspend an election and that the petitioner’s continued participation in the election was a prove that they agreed on the suspension, resumption and declaration of the result on the March 9 Governorship election.
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