Why Governor Wike’s election was upheld – Supreme Court

FILE PHOTO: Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (centre), addressing a crowd of his supporters as he arrives Port Harcourt, the state capital immediately after the tribunal ruling, while his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Banigo (left) and Bro. Felex Obuah – State PDP Chairman accompanying him at Omagwa International Airport.
FILE PHOTO: Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (centre), addressing a crowd of his supporters as he arrives Port Harcourt, the state capital immediately after the tribunal ruling, while his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Banigo (left) and Bro. Felex Obuah – State PDP Chairman accompanying him at Omagwa International Airport.

The Supreme Court in Abuja on Friday gave reasons for upholding the election of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.

The court had delivered the judgement on January 27 but said it would explain the reasons for it on February 12.

In arriving at the ruling, it set aside the judgements of the River State Governorship Election Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which nullified Mr. Wike’s election.

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the unanimous judgement, explained that the inability of the tribunal to be properly constituted during the determination of the matter amounted to lack of fair hearing of the governor’s case.

She said the action of the tribunal was a good ground to set aside the entire proceedings before it, but that since it was an election matter which was time-bound, according to section 289 (6) and (7) of the constitution, it was necessary to consider the appeal according to its merit.

On the alleged violation of documents tendered at the tribunal and the appeal court, she said the function of the card reader, though quite commendable in the conduct of the 2015 elections, is solely to authenticate the owner of the voter’s card and prevent multiple voting by a single voter.

She said the card reader cannot replace the voters register, recognised by the constitution.

Mrs. Kekere-Ekun further said the 49th prosecution witness (PW), who is an assistant director of information communication and technology at the Independent National Electoral Commission, acknowledged that the report she had testified to, was prepared by a certain Mrs. Nnena, a staff of her unit.

She added that the witness also told the tribunal during cross examination that she was not in Rivers State during the election and did not examine the card reader after the exercise.

She said since the witness did not take part in any stage of the accreditation of voters, she was not in any position to testify as to how the card reader functioned during the election.

“The position of the law is that there is a difference between admissibility (relevance) and probative value (proof) to be attached to the said evidence,” Mrs. Kekere-Ekun said.

“Where the maker of a document is not called to testify, the document should not be accorded probative value, not withstanding its status as a certified copy document.”

The justice further stated that the testimony of PW49 is evidence to the fact that exhibit A9 could be a conclusive proof of the number of accredited voters at the election.

Mrs. Kekere-Ekun said witnesses at the tribunal had testified that where the card reader failed to read a voter’s PVC, incident forms were used, but that none of the forms were tendered by the first and second respondent.

She also noted that out of the 11 voters registers tendered for 11 out of 23 Local Government Areas of the state, no attempt was made to link them to exhibits A9, which contained the number of accredited voters.

She added that documents before the court proved that the number of accredited voters stated in forms ECA8 was different from the number stated in exhibit A9.

This, she said, was grossly inadequate in proving non-compliance, which is expected to have been done, poling units by poling units, according to the provision of the constitution.

She said, “Section 139 of the Constitution states that where a petitioner complains of non-compliance with the provisions of the act, he has an onerous task of proving it, poling unit by poling unit, ward by ward and the standard of proof is on a balance of probabilities.”

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  • favourtalk

    This are people who enjoy the corruption and ineffectiveness of the Judiciary. He shouldn’t at any point win the case in rivers after many lives was lost during the election and the two lower courts said tat during thier judgment but the corruption at the higher court gave him victory. He should not worry, time will catch up with him. NO serious reason here at all

  • dave jacob

    At last, the SC has spoken about the unconstitutionality of the card reader despite killings carried out by PDP thugs and open robbery to win the election. But my concern is this. The APC, enraged at the decision, will go all out to bastardize the vote in Rivers (and Akwa Ibom) come 2019, thereby throwing morality to the dogs mainly to avenge what it believes was a loss occasioned by legal technicality. Hell will be let loose from Abuja on PDP supporters then. The question is: will the APC be blamed for being so feral taking into account the glaring SC-supported technical electoral loss?

    • Jika

      You have spoken my mind.God bless you.

    • Sparzo

      ”She said the card reader cannot replace the voters register as recognised by the constitution”
      You have the same problem as @otile. You do not understand what you read in English.
      Shame that as I can see, that at least you really try,

    • bjay

      You have said it all pdp should not expect anything comes 2019.

    • GEJ FOREVER

      Any body who is bringing APC to the South South & South East whether in 2016 or 2019 must be ready to bear the consequences.

      Even if all members of the Nigerian Armed Forces are deployed to the South South & South East … we will defend our territory gallantly …. please see Bayelsa versus Buhari’s Men 2016 Edition for guidance.

      • bjay

        I pity you south south who will never be come human under south east.

        • Darlington

          Divide and rule agent. S/S and S/E are one old Eastern region. APC will never win in this region.

      • Arogbo

        That’s a rant of a mad man. At the appropriate time the law we take its course.

      • SAM .A

        Go and take your drug before posting here,hallucination , delusion and mania are reflected in your ranting.
        By 2019, we shall bound you and send you to Asylum where u belong.

  • David Musaed

    Very meaningless judgement. This is a complete scam.

    • Nkem

      Very very meaningless my brother. A patchwork of disparate, discordant reasons why the validated the election.

    • TrueNja

      Lagos, Ogun and Oyo judgements must also be a complete scam

      • David Musaed

        Well i havent read their judgement. Look i dont care about what party is winning ,all i care about is the goodness of Nigeria.

  • bjay

    Even Steve wonder will know that all judges of SC being appointed by pdp government is baseless and no truth.

  • Nkem

    You know a desperately predetermined judgement when you see one. The card reader is unconstitutional, yet you are rulling that the testimony of the INEC staff was inadmissible because she was not in Rivers State at the time to know whether the card worked or not. So which one is the issue? That she should have been present for her testimony to be valid or that the card reader should not even be an issue in the first place?
    In the US, sitting American presidents determine the direction of the Supreme Court by the appointments they make to the apex court. I don’t know what role the Nigerian constitution gives the president on appointment Supreme Court justices, but I sincerely hope that between now and 2023 president Buhari should be able to ensure that we get the kind of judges in the apex court whose integrity is deserving of the sanctity of that institution.

    • Jon Rhoma

      You’re a fraud. The judges interpreted the law as they saw it. What most of you blaming the Supreme Court fail to understand is that in law he who alleges must prove. The petitioner who is alleging that elections were rigged by his opponent will have to prove it. There lies the difficulty. I can’t say more because you may not understand.

      • absam777

        So what about all the evidence admitted by the tribunal and the Appeal court? The only point of law the supreme court has is the changing of the appeal court chairman. They should have ordered a re-run and not go for political expediency and Ghana must go

        • Jon Rhoma

          Judges can err. They can admit wrong evidence or fail to admit correct evidence. I don’t know which evidence you’re referring to as I wasn’t there. If you were there and admitted the wrong evidence accepted by a tribunal the Supreme Court being a superior court will be right to disregard that evidence and overrule the tribunal and indeed the Court of Appeal as they did. You reference to so called Ghana must Go bags is misplaced. Let us ride above pettiness believing always that we are right. We cannot know everything and must accept the judgement of those who know better. You’re not a good sportsman if you complain each time you loose a game. Strive to play better next time instead of complaining.

    • Darlington

      If Buhari will be there till them. Keep wailing, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Abia, Taraba have gone forever! APC will never win those states.

      • Tamuno

        No more oil money. Oil sold for $23 a barrel today. No more money to throw around during elections. They will be loaning money to run their states, in other words, the party is over buddy boy. Think about it.

      • Arogbo

        We shall see!

    • IZON Redeemer

      Hear your Ibo brother in Lagos—state———-again————In Lagos State, both the Court of Appeal and Suprme court declared inter alia that; On the Card Reader issue specifically, the appellate court’s judgment, delivered by Justice Ogbuinya held that: “The paragraph (13b) displays a vitriolic attack on the irregularities germinating from the improper or non-use of the smart card readers in the polling units.

      “As it is, it has no life of its own as a ground. It endeavours to introduce the defects in the use of smart card readers. The evolution of the concept of smart card reader is a familiar one. It came to being during the last general election. On this score, it is a nascent procedure injected into our infant and fledgling electoral system to ensure credible and transparent election.

      “The extant Electoral Act (2010) which predates the concept (of card reader) is not its parent or progenitor. Since it is not the progeny of the Electoral Act, fronting it as a ground to challenge any election does not have its (the Electoral Act’s) blessing, nay Section 138 (1) of it.

      “Put simply, a petitioner cannot project the non-presence or improper use of smart card reader as a ground for questioning an election. It does not qualify as one.–Case close–This was the verdict delivered for APC in Lagos State—tell Nigerians why that of Rivers state should be different-biko! Is it because na South south—?

      • Abdulmojeed Nojeemdeen

        Please think and not drink.use the brain and not the break

    • absam777

      Very much on points. They lack integrity with this judgement. let us hope the president sets up a panel to look into this illogical and confusing judgements

  • Amir

    The reasons given by the supreme court is empty and the worst joke of the year. We will find out how these PDP appointees cannot apply the electoral law alongside the constitution.

    • Kñîghtš Tëmpłær

      What else do you want to hear?

    • REDEEM

      U need the help of a medical doctor-to help u out

    • band olu

      They were appointed by PDP so they will do favours for PDP whenever they can, d only solution is to remove or retire all of them…They are a joke…

    • IZON Redeemer

      Hear your Ibo brother in Lagos—state———-again————In Lagos State, both the Court of Appeal and Suprme court declared inter alia that; On the Card Reader issue specifically, the appellate court’s judgment, delivered by Justice Ogbuinya held that: “The paragraph (13b) displays a vitriolic attack on the irregularities germinating from the improper or non-use of the smart card readers in the polling units.

      “As it is, it has no life of its own as a ground. It endeavours to introduce the defects in the use of smart card readers. The evolution of the concept of smart card reader is a familiar one. It came to being during the last general election. On this score, it is a nascent procedure injected into our infant and fledgling electoral system to ensure credible and transparent election.

      “The extant Electoral Act (2010) which predates the concept (of card reader) is not its parent or progenitor. Since it is not the progeny of the Electoral Act, fronting it as a ground to challenge any election does not have its (the Electoral Act’s) blessing, nay Section 138 (1) of it.

      “Put simply, a petitioner cannot project the non-presence or improper use of smart card reader as a ground for questioning an election. It does not qualify as one.–Case close–This was the verdict delivered for APC in Lagos State—tell Nigerians why that of Rivers state should be different-biko! Is it because na South south—?…

    • TrueNja

      Same reasons were given by the supreme court to award Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states to APC

  • Darlington

    APC, go and die!

  • Burning Spear

    On Tuesday, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Rivers State petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, asking it to probe alleged financial recklessness of ex-Governor, Rotimi Amaechi.

    PDP petitions EFCC over Amaechi – Deputy Publicity Secretary in Rivers, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, told journalists in Port Harcourt that President Muhammad Buhari should ensure he fulfils his promise to maintain a zero tolerance for corruption.

    He said: “Since the President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, has told the world that he is a man with zero tolerance for corruption, we, the people of Rivers, are asking that there should be no sacred cow.

    “We are saying that corruption in Rivers State should be investigated and justice should be done.

    “As we speak to you, we cannot trace the proceeds that emanated from all the government’s transactions that that took place in Rivers State.”

    Nwanosike, cautioned Buhari not to protect Amaechi, saying the probe of former office holders must also affect members of the ruling All Progressives Congress.

    Nwanosike lamented that the current administration in the state had to borrow to pay salary arrears, which the Amaechi administration failed to pay.

    Shedding more light on the petition which noted the alleged fraudulent transactions in the state between December 1 and 8, 2014, the official said “Can you imagine that between December 1 and 8, 2014, with one address – 25 Trans-Amadi Road, Port Harcourt, over N21bn of Rivers funds were transferred? We are asking, where did these funds go?”

    The official dismissed the claims that some PDP members in the state were planning to defect to the APC. PDP petitions EFCC over Amaechi

  • Aremu Mathew Okikiolu

    Supreme sham! God case, no appeal.

  • Du Covenant

    Enemies of progress…., How does any one expect progress in Nigeria when even the supreme court is populated by clowns illiterate of ICT?. None of them has a personal email account that is properly utilized, they can only answer calls on their mobile if at all they can see the button to press. It just defies logic to question the role played and will continue to play by the card reader in Nigeria’s election history. It has just delivered us from the clutches of a terribly incompetent leadership and we must improve on it and there should be no going back!. I beg on the current administration to replace the supreme court judges with 21st century men and women within the next 3 yrs!!..

  • Burning Spear

    In Lagos State, both the Court of Appeal and Suprme court declared inter alia that; On the Card Reader issue specifically, the appellate court’s judgment, delivered by Justice Ogbuinya held that: “The paragraph (13b) displays a vitriolic attack on the irregularities germinating from the improper or non-use of the smart card readers in the polling units.

    “As it is, it has no life of its own as a ground. It endeavours to introduce the defects in the use of smart card readers. The evolution of the concept of smart card reader is a familiar one. It came to being during the last general election. On this score, it is a nascent procedure injected into our infant and fledgling electoral system to ensure credible and transparent election.

    “The extant Electoral Act (2010) which predates the concept (of card reader) is not its parent or progenitor. Since it is not the progeny of the Electoral Act, fronting it as a ground to challenge any election does not have its (the Electoral Act’s) blessing, nay Section 138 (1) of it.

    “Put simply, a petitioner cannot project the non-presence or improper use of smart card reader as a ground for questioning an election. It does not qualify as one.–Case close–Tghis was the verdict delivered for APC in Lagos State—tell Nigerians why that of Rivers state should be differnece–biko! Is it because na South south—?

  • Gidi

    This is the most pathetic legal reason i have ever read. Supreme Court Justices are grabbing at straw here. Bottom line, justice went for the highest bidder.

    Too bad for the people of Rivers State, they are stuck with incompetent PDP for another 4 yrs. The only lesson we can learn is that INEC dropped the ball and there should be a way to reform the institution at the state level, coupled with holding them accountable for their mess. Until the people can hold INEC accountable vis-a-vis liability law suit, the institution will continue to remain inadequate.

    • Iniabasi Akpan

      Incompetent PDP in imo, osun & Edo states u mean.

  • Oke j.

    This judgment lacks depth…it all goes to form in a meaningless way…instead of addressing the substance.

    • Invitro

      @disqus_UskWmzMlAm:disqus

      The Supreme Court chose to write this judgment in a customized way for this case only.

      Hardly can any lawyer cite this case without knowing the reasoning behind this judgment.

    • Izon redeemer

      ee how how u as an ibo man is disgracing himself—-here-? The learned judges followed a verdict delivered by an Ibo high court judge–in Lagos state——show me the law that was used in establishing the card readers—just one act introduced to back the card readers———-before the introduction of the electoral law—–?———mumu Ibo man

    • Sword of Damocles

      ….Exemplified by the following quotation:

      “She said the card reader cannot replace the voters register, recognized by the constitution”

  • burning spear

    In Lagos State, both the Court of Appeal and Suprme court declared inter alia that; On the Card Reader issue specifically, the appellate court’s judgment, delivered by Justice Ogbuinya held that: “The paragraph (13b) displays a vitriolic attack on the irregularities germinating from the improper or non-use of the smart card readers in the polling units.

    “As it is, it has no life of its own as a ground. It endeavours to introduce the defects in the use of smart card readers. The evolution of the concept of smart card reader is a familiar one. It came to being during the last general election. On this score, it is a nascent procedure injected into our infant and fledgling electoral system to ensure credible and transparent election.

    “The extant Electoral Act (2010) which predates the concept (of card reader) is not its parent or progenitor. Since it is not the progeny of the Electoral Act, fronting it as a ground to challenge any election does not have its (the Electoral Act’s) blessing, nay Section 138 (1) of it.

    “Put simply, a petitioner cannot project the non-presence or improper use of smart card reader as a ground for questioning an election. It does not qualify as one.–Case close–Tghis was the verdict delivered for APC in Lagos State—tell Nigerians why that of Rivers state should be differnece–biko! Is it because na South south—

    • absam777

      There was no murder or violence reported in Lagos when compared to River. Your assertion is baseless.

  • Nwo Odoli

    Wailing wailers the wise ones have spoken and I and so many more wise ones in Nigeria agree, case closed.

  • PMB for ever

    Nonsense is what Mrs. Kekere-Ekun saying, denying justice on the basis of some legal technicalities is simply absurd.

  • Osa Ogie

    What a sham? If these are the reasons we have been awaiting, I am embarrassingly disappointed. How did these Justices get to sit at the apex Court? Clearly, the course of justice has not been served byeffectively check s judgment.

    By rejecting the role of the Card Reader in the authentication and validation of voters, is like rejecting the fact of the over 23,000 ghost workers that has been unearthed by the BVN exercise.

    We know all along that the Voters Register is fraught with all sorts of irregularities like multiple registration, which gives rise to malpractices. The use of the use of the Card Readers was meant to effectively put a check on such malpractices.

  • ogechi

    I don’t blame them SCJs,dey must v received a LifeLine Billions from d PDPthiefs…and I expect PMB to trace d recent Deposits on d’s crooks accts!

  • ed

    The true reason for the fraudlent judgement were reported by Sahara Reporter few days ago.
    The Supreme Court judges were compromised. DSS EFCC should follow the money.

    • Iniabasi Akpan

      Sahara reporters is now higher than d supreme court….
      We r in deep trouble.

      • joe

        Were they (sahara reporters) not higher than Ibori court? Did they not report that the judgement was bought? And is it not a fact today? How about Ekiti-gate, who reported about it, and is that also not a reality we are living with today? Every Mama-put Amala Buka is higher than your “supreme” court!!!

        • ed

          Thanks

        • wazobia scatter!!!!!!

          tell him ………..

  • joe

    You guys tried (to rationalize your irrational judgement) but failed. Greed and unscrupulousness blinded you guys from seeing that the time is up for your ways of doing things. You failed to realize that, “old things are passed away” and did not behold that “all things are become new” 🙂 You have done your “ping”, you can be sure there will be a “pong” 🙂

    • chukwu michael

      Then Buhari should be the Judge and Osibanjo should resign his VP seat and become the CJN.

      • joe

        Maybe they should. No self-respecting leader allows a bunch of criminals (including judges, legislators, lawyers, e-rats.. etc) to hold 200million souls to ransom by cornering the entire national resources for themselves alone, so that they can continue with their extravagant and perverse way of life

  • emmanuel anizoba

    Well, our Supreme Court judges have set the country ablaze by legalising brute force and crime. The rule of law is hereby abolished and everyone is law unto himself. Our judiciary and law enforcement outfits are mere words and plain hocus pocus. Yes. ..as we make our beds so shall we lie on them. Cheers!

    • justification

      this blind man dint go to school in his entire life, you mean you have not understand a clear and open judgment of this magnitude.

      • joe

        Personally, I have not “understand” the judgement. You can also call me “dint go to school in his entire life” if that makes you sleep better at night. But how do you explain the judges choosing to ignore an overwhelming evidence of violence, killings and intimidations. How do you explain their ignoring the most important evidence in the case – That a governor has more votes than there are register voters!!! How do you explain the role of Mrs Odili in that panel of cheap criminals?… ..

      • emmanuel anizoba

        Going to school does not allow you to legalise anarchy. The Law of Nature prohibits murder because by killing someone you authorise others to kill you; by harming others you give them the right to harm you. And no Supreme Court created by men can change the immutable laws of Nature. You may choose, at your own peril, to play fast and loose with Nature. But Nemesis or Nature will surely make you payback with accrued interest. Mark the words of your blind man!

    • chukwu michael

      All these are because the Judgment was not in favor of APC. It takes two to fight. No man fights with himself. Whilst the allegation of violence during the elections lasts, it must sink into the hearts of the insatiable APC that there is no way they can be guiltless in that regard. They could not have been just looking while PDP rigs, manipulates figures , kills, falsifies figures and all other allegation APC raised. The Supreme Court has sufficiently given reasons why the Judgment went the way it went. APC is just trying to use Buhari’s Military brutality to intimidate the Judiciary. As long as any Judgment does no go the way expected by APC, the Judges are corrupt, they have been purchased, they are unlearned, they are this they are that. It is impossible for the Judges to give Judgment not based on an already existing laws guiding them. They are mindful of their professions and reputations and one wonders why any body should think that any Judge could dare Buhari who already has expressed his animosity against the Judiciary, describing them as his greatest headache. With this, it takes bravery to pass Judgment that would not favor Buhari by any judge. Can APC please give us peace in this country? I should say that idleness is the reason for all these rubbish. If APC knew the task of Governance facing them, the would have taken a seat and get to work. One year is going and we have not seen anything to say”Buhari is better than Jonathan”. It is not noise about corruption that makes you a good leader. Okorocha is sacking people, PHC is strangulating us with increased tariff, and Buhari is choir singing kwarruption here and there.

    • T-Rex

      From Rivers,Akwa Ibom,Abia,and Taraba, all the judgements from the Supreme Court were hits back2back in 2016! ‪#‎LeaveWailing2dWailers‬@apcE-rats

  • Omotolaaraujo

    Bribe!

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  • T-Rex

    From Rivers,Akwa Ibom,Abia,and Taraba, all the judgements from the Supreme Court were hits back2back in 2016! ‪#‎LeaveWailing2dWailers‬@apc

  • Stanley

    Great minds at the supreme court are finding violent criticism from mediocre who think that should be coaching instead of refereeing the elections. INEC has shifted goal posts in several elections they refereed. the most glaring being the kogi case where they think that their endorsement is what that is required to win, and not the rules as stated by the constitution. The supreme court is left to quench the War and disintegration of Nigeria that INEC has caused.

  • Kez Ebed

    Wike was not given fair hearing, so he stays to govern perhaps because he could bribe other people. Nyako was not given fair hearing, but he goes away having supremely bribed himself with rusted entitlements and gratuity. Now do we look before we leap or leap before we look. This latest decision from the supreme court! Was it this few, and tersely worded reasons for their decision that was so heavy and difficult to be included in the judgment that was previously given. or is this a case of leaping before looking. Ok balanced probability. I hereby submit that on a balanced probability, the entire 2015 election should be nullified by the supreme court, the election having so grossly contravened the Nigerian constitution by its usage of card-readers in the process. Jagga should be tried and jailed for such gargantuan effrontery in contravention. Buhari, I am sure will have nothing to fear about. If with card readers he led with 2 million, without it he would lead by 20 million.

  • Izedomi Ohirein

    Supreme Court should be probed.
    The use of PVC & Card readers are pre-election matters that should been settled before the elections.
    No law prohibits INEC from introducing any scheme to add value to our election process.
    Anything not against the law is within the law.
    This contrived judgement must not be allowed to stand. It ignored violence used in Aqua Ibom & River States to achieve the forged results.

  • PolyGon2013

    The Supreme Court (SC) has spoken. We just have to deal with Wike for the next 3 years. If this is what Rivers State want, so be it. It is time to move on. However, if SC members are found to compromise the case, then, the application of the law should follow to deal with them decisively.

  • The Trib3sman

    Rivers people voted for Wike and the Supreme Court has given credence to our combined resolve. We are grateful to God and all the Rivers people who came out that date to vote enmasse of the man of our choice.