The Election Petition Appeal in Rivers State has seconded the judgement of the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal which sacked Ipalibo George, the lawmaker representing Asari Toru Constituency 1 in the state house of assembly.
The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal had on the 25th of September declared Wellington Tekenari Grandville, the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, the winner for pulling lawful majority votes in the March 9th House of Assembly Election in Rivers State above the Social Democratic Party candidate.
Grandville had in his petition against the Social Democratic Party, SDP, and its candidate, Ipalibo George, challenged the election of George as the member representing Asari-Toru Constituency 1.
The tribunal in its judgement which was delivered by Justice Joseph Bamgbose ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Wellington Tekenari, and also ruled that the sum of five hundred thousand (500,000) naira should be given to him by the 2nd Respondent Ipalibo George.
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The court stated that pieces of evidence the 2nd Respondent, Ipalibo George, relied on upon and presented before the tribunal such as result sheets were not authentic, adding that evidence presented by the police as certified copies from the Collation was different from 2nd Respondent copies
However, the Appeal panel in its ruling delivered by Justice Uche Jumbo-Offor on Thursday agreed with the tribunal.
The appellate court said the PDP candidate polled the highest number of Lawful votes in the election.
The court held that with the evidence available in court, Tekenari Wellington polled the highest number of votes in the election and ordered INEC to issue him the Certificate of Return immediately.
Counsel to the PDP candidate, Dike Udenna told newsmen that the judgement has affirmed the argument that the Peoples Democratic Party dominated the last election in Rivers State.
“The Court has simply upheld the judgement of the Election Tribunal that my client, Tekenari actually polled the highest number of lawful votes in the last elections.
“We were able to prove to the court that the SDP candidate was unpopular and could not have defeated my client.
“So, the Court has ordered INEC to issue him his Certificate and for the Rivers State House of Assembly to swear him in immediately”, he said.