Weak and contradictory evidence on the part of the witnesses called by sacked Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, were the main reasons the Rivers State governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja, ended his six-month old government on Saturday.
Agreeing that the election was fraught with irregularities, the tribunal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh governorship election in the state in 90 days, according to law.
Wike, who stood the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had been battling at the tribunal with his All Progressives Congress (APC), main opponent, Dakuku Peterside, who had challenged the sacked governor’s victory on a sundry of reasons, some of which the tribunal agreed with in its ruling.
Suleiman Ambrousa, chairman of the tribunal, began delivering the judgment at 10:15am after the lawyers to all the parties had announced their appearance for their clients, in a courtroom filled with suspense.
At the end of it, the three-man tribunal held that Wike was not duly elected, adding that the election was flawed based on evidence presented to it, and therefore ruled that a fresh election be conducted in the state within 90 days.
Peterside had presented 56 witnesses who testified against Wike, who swore to the flawed part of the election, with many of them claiming that they were prevented from voting because of massive irregularities and wanton violence, while Wike’s witnesses who countered the claim.
But the tribunal, which held that the Peterside camp was telling the truth, and dismissed Wike’s as “weak” and mostly “contradictory,” thus annulled the election.
In its two-hour judgment, the tribunal also dismissed Wike’s petition over its power to entertain the case.