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Tribunal upholds Governor Wike’s re-election, dismisses petition filed by PPP

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Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike

By Chukwudi Ejimofor, Port-Harcourt

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, K. Otehi  said he had instruction of the petitioner to withdraw  the petition.

 

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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