Rivers Election: How Wike’s lawyers argued, won at Supreme Court

Governor Nyesom Wike celebrating with his supporters
Governor Nyesom Wike celebrating with his supporters

The Supreme Court judgement which returned Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, as the duly elected governor of the state, came after a legal battle which highlighted several electoral matters.

The ruling resulted from three appeals by Mr. Wike, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

They all challenged the decision of the Rivers State tribunal to nullify Mr. Wike’s election, and the decision of the Court of Appeal, to uphold the tribunal’s judgement.

Although the seven-member panel of judges said it would give reasons for the ruling on February 12, respective lawyers vigorously laid out their cases.

Mr. Wike’s counsel, Emanuel Okala, told the court at the beginning of the session on Wednesday that the Rivers State tribunal erred in its judgement, by failing to take full cognizance of all electoral details presented by his team.

He said voters’ registers tendered during the tribunal’s hearings were for 11 out of 23 Local Government Areas, and that none of them was examined at the tribunal.

The PDP’s Counsel, Wole Olanikpekun, also submitted that the statement of the 40th witness at the tribunal, who was an INEC staff, lacked merit, as the person was not at the venue of the voting.

He said the tribunal erred by striking out more than 100 pages of processes presented before it.

Mr. Olanikpekun said of 4, 442 polling units in the state, only 12 representatives of polling units were called to the tribunal.

The counsel to INEC, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, also said the testimony of the 40th witness, at the tribunal were at best, “documentary hearsays” and could not suffice as proof of the allegation of disruption of election.

He said the only proof that should have been considered were those of the agents at the polling centres not that of the said witness, adding that the 40th witness did not identify any polling center where an alleged refraction occurred.

He prayed the court not to consider the statement of the 40th Prosecution Witness.

But the counsel to Dakuku Peterside, the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, Akin Olujimi, said the INEC’s monitoring officer, listed as the 40th Prosecution Witness, had stated during the tribunal sitting that there was no election.

He said INEC did not distance itself from the result of the election monitoring, which was done by a staff, under its official capacity as an employee of the commission.

He added that electoral malfeasance was evident, and that section 57 of the Electoral Act made it mandatory for INEC to rely on the card readers for the conduct of the election.

Mr. Olujimi also said the incident forms also contributed to the problems, as over 20, 000 incident forms were brought to the tribunal, with no explanation from any one.

Mr. Olujimi said details presented by witnesses proved that there were no proper accreditations, implying that there were no elections.

Before presenting their judgments, the panel of judges expressed concern about the cancellation of over 100 pages pf processes by the tribunal.

Delivering the ruling, Justice Tomori Kekere-Ekun upheld the decision of INEC which returned Mr. Wike as the elected governor of the state.

Mr. Kekere-Ekun set aside the decision of the tribunal, and upheld the three appeals by Mr. Wike, the PDP, and INEC, describing them as meritorious.

The panel however said its reasons for the ruling will be given on February 12.

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  • Nuhu

    All of a sudden, the APC e-rats fingers have become numb. How market @Ameachi ati Dakuku?

    • Issei

      Hahaha Na only you waka come,chai chai diaris God ooooohhhh

    • adeade

      They are on leave… I dey laugh…

    • Jaja Majaja

      They are in shock…..LOL

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  • Damilola

    What a solid case… Why was the Tribunal judge changed by the way? Scene!!!

  • Arise O Compatriot!

    Righteousness exalt a nation, sin is a reproach to the people….There will still come the judgement of the Almighty God upon evil doers except they repent! It’s a matter of time….

    • iwe paul

      Yes oh! All evil doers both in APC and PDP will face the judgment of the almighty God,wherever they hide they will be fished out ultimately. God cannot be mocked!

      • Arise O Compatriot!

        God bless you. Yes, God can never be mocked.

  • Profy

    I have been following this Wole Olanipekun. He has never lost any political case in the history of Nigeria. Their must be something unique about this guy.

  • Jossy J

    If the supreme court saw nothing wrong in declaring wike/pdp winner of that fraudulent election, then there is no need to nullify any election in Nigeria.

    • PH boy

      What were the verdicts of the courts with regards to the elections in Kano State and other states in the northern part of the country, with all the obvious cases of under aged voting and etc??? I wonder why every ones interest was in the Rivers State election, ignoring the clear fraud that took place in the north. Well, shame to you all, ….. WE WON!!!

    • Bobo Jim-Ogbolo

      Fraudulent election because Wike won? Did Wike/PDP refused you from voting? You want to tell me that there was no election in the 23 LGAs/4k Polling Units of Rivers State? Go to facebook and search for Onyinye Okoh (She voted for APC at Choba), Naomi Owoupele, Betty Owoupele, Edward Olungwe, Tamunodiepiriye Oba, John Wordu, Ilami Egbono (they all voted PDP/Wike). Go ask em. Go ask Alafuro Biesha Bell-Gam on facebook. He voted for Prince Tonye Princewill of LP at GRA instead of his fellow town’s man, Dakuku.

  • favourtalk

    It is shame that supreme Court gave the judgment but as an abiding citizen of the nation, you get to respect the rule of law but it was too obvious tat election in rivers was rigged totally. It was too obvious

    • Bobo Jim-Ogbolo

      Did they change the result of the Polling Unit you voted? Wailer!!!

  • bikky

    Kai,Nigeria is in trouble with this kind of judgement, how will Buhari succed in his effort to get rid off corruption in the land, anyway the implication of this judgement is that politicians (contestants) will be struggling by do or die to win elections and later settled it in the court after all the person with power has every resources to fight.PT caption should have been how expensive Olanipekun defeated his brother Olujimi, after all they are partners.

  • Analyst

    Wike won because Tinubu is not longer motivated looking at how the party is being hijacked from him. Nobody was out to do background work with our corrupt judges.

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  • Maria Darego

    Mr. Wike should diligently and fairly recover the resources of Rivers State.

  • wode

    Frankly, the Supreme Court judgement on Rivers election has completely changed my perception of the Apex Court. As a layman, I used to attach a high level of sanctity to the verdicts of the court.

  • PH boy

    Amaechi lost that election and not Dakuku. There was no sense in claiming that there wasn`t an election in Rivers State because over a million people came out and voted for Wike and would have done same over and over again if the election was to be cancelled by the apex court. And just for the records; Amaechi left PDP to join APC not because he sincerely wanted change, but because the PDP party structure was taken from him. Rivers State is a PDP state. APC does not have what it takes (at least for now) to win an election in Rivers State. The apex courts ruling is clearly indicative of the mood of the average Rivers man (and woman). Now there is peace in Rivers State!!!