It is no longer news that the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal under the obvious circumstances and against all legal rules and reasons annulled the Governorship election of Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike CON. Held on April 11, 2015.
The decision of the Tribunal to annual the Election was based on conditions/grounds not known to law. The provision of Section 138 of the Electoral Act clearly sets out the grounds upon which an election can be annulled and they include:
The decision of The Tribunal, was not based on any of these grounds known to law but was, rather, based on an issue that the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Agbaja vs Ambode had settled, that in the issue of whether the known usage of the card reader could invalidate an election.
The Supreme Court had pointedly held that the card reader is not known nor mentioned in the Electoral Act. That in fact the Election Act predates the card reader thus, the non usage of card reader cannot invalidate or be a ground for the annulment of an election.
The decision of the Tribunal to cancel the election, despite the clear and unambiguous ruling of the Supreme Court on the issue of the card reader, reeks of judicial rascality, impudence and deliberate affront on the authority of the Supreme Court. Certainly, there is no way that the Tribunal judgement can stand, given that The Supreme Court had already settled the issue of the usage of card readers in an election.
Secondly, the Tribunal purportedly held that there was widespread of violence, because of which voters could not vote. The Court of Appeal, in an appeal brought by the All Progressive Congress (APC) party had ruled that the evidence of the security personnel in the Rivers State Election Tribunal wherein names of persons who perpetuated violence were mentioned should be expunged from the records of the Tribunal.
This inevitably means that if these pieces of ‘evidence’ are expunged from the record of the Tribunal, as the Court of Appeal has ordered, there will be nothing more for the Tribunal to base its judgement that there was widespread violence during the election.
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