…..Tribunal reserves judgement
The African Action Congress, AAC, on Wednesday, asked the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal to dismiss a petition filed by its Gubernatorial Candidate, Biokpomabo Awara against the re-election Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for lacking in merit.
This is as the Tribunal presided by Justice Kingsley Orjiako announced that the Tribunal had reserved judgment following the adoption of final written addresses by all the parties in the suit.
Counsel to the AAC, Henry Bello, during the adopting the party’s final written address, asked the Tribunal to recognize a video clip which was tendered in court showing the declaration of Governor Wike as the winner of the March 9, 2019 Governorship election after due Collation of Results, Scan news reports.
The AAC said its decision to call for the dismissal of the petition by Biokpomabo Awara was borne out of the party’s commitment to the truth.
According to Bello: “A lawyer should not promote a case which to his knowledge is false. Every iota of their case is made in falsehood. Therefore, Counsel for the party, presenting the truth before the Tribunal deserves commendation.
“My Lord, I want the court to rely eminently on the evidence of PW21. His evidence and the video played lay credence to PW21 evidence. I, Henry Bello on behalf of the 2nd respondent (AAC) hereby consent to the dismissal of this petition”.
Ahmed Raji (SAN), Counsel to the PDP in the party’s final written address, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition, considering the prayers by the 2nd Petitioner (AAC) that the petition be dismissed.
He said that going by the witnesses of the petitioners, the gubernatorial election in the state was peaceful.
According to him: “In reaction to the petitioner response dated September 27, 2019, I relied on the due process and urged the court to dismiss the petition. In the sense that the 2nd petitioner clearly considered, admitted that the petition should be dismissed
“Not a single witness of the petitioner was called from the polling unit; it was either ward agent or state agent. They said the election was peaceful, free and fair.
“The first petitioner has not presented to the court any other separate result other than the result presented by the 1st respondent (INEC)”.
He added: “We seek the court to dismiss the petition which is from a disunited house, even from the onset. We will not want a disunited house to come and cause commotion in the state”.
In his final written address, Governor Wike through his Counsel, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) adopted the position of the PDP.
He added that the petitioner called witnesses that contradicted his petition; therefore, there should be no basis to debate the matter further.
“Although the petitioner purports to challenge the governorship election, evidence of the petitioner’s witnesses PW21 and PW22 and video clip confirmed the victory of Governor Nyesom Wike in the election.
“It is important to state that the PW21 is the state collation of both petitioners. Even though the 1st petitioner claimed the PW21 is an imposter, he never produced any other that stood in his place. The political party appoints the collation agent, and there was no challenge by the party that he was the state collation agent.
“PW21 made it clear that the 2nd petitioner actually accepted the result as was signed by the party agent. When a political party signs a result, it is not legal to bring such result as a matter in court.
“They have shown that there is no basis to go further with the petition. There is no law for a party calling witnesses that contradict themselves or the petition.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission also urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition.
Counsel to the INEC, Steve Adehie (SAN) noted that: “We adopt all the preliminary arguments and urge the Tribunal to dismiss the petition.
“We adopt the evidence of the PDP, Governor Wike and our own argument. It is true we did not call witnesses, but we led evidence through the witnesses. All the witnesses that testified admitted that they have no problem with the results as declared by INEC. As an exhibit, Q1 tendered PW20 result sheets, and PW21 also confirmed the final results by INEC.
“If all the witnesses admitted the results as declared by INEC, then why are we here. This tells that they have no case to protest. We are urging this court to dismiss this case with substantial cost”.
But Engr Biokpomabo Awara urged the Tribunal to grant his reliefs.
Counsel to Biokpomabo Awara, Emenike Ebete, asked the court to nullify the election and order for a rerun.
The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Orjiako, said that all the parties would be informed when the judgment would be delivered.