Tribunal Removes ADP’s petition against Wike’s election
The Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal has struck out the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party, Mr. Victor Fingesi against the election of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
The election tribunal declared that nothing was discovered by the petitioner in the petition, which it described as an adventure to discover the non-existent.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice K.A. Orjiako, in his ruling on Saturday, said that Fingesi of the ADP lacked the locus standi to file the petition.
The tribunal held that an election petition must challenge the person returned as winner and not the petitioner.
Justice Orjiako stated that the tribunal had earlier struck out the petition on the premise and the petitioner went on appeal that the Court of Appeal affirmed that the petitioner lacks locus standi in view of the paragraphs of his own petition.
“This petition is hereby by struck out. The petitioner lacks the locus standi to file the petition,” the tribunal chairman ruled.
The tribunal declared that the petitioner failed woefully to prove that Wike did not score the highest number of lawful votes during the March 9, 2019 governorship election.
Justice Orjiako described the petitioner’s complaint as vague and merely speculative.
He stated that the first petitioner did not know the number of registered voters in the state.
The tribunal further stated that the petitioner under cross-examination said he had no knowledge of the number of registered voters in his own polling unit in Okrika Local Government Area.
Justice Orjiako described the allegation that the winner did not score the highest number of votes as an invitation to compare figures, adding that the petitioner ought to plead his own results and that of the winner for the court to cross-check.
He noted that there was no evidence of any alleged inflation of results as the evidence remained vague, adding that the burden of proof was strictly on the petitioner and not on any weakness of the defence of the respondents.
The tribunal, however, agreed with the Independent National Electoral Commission that the governorship election was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act, maintaining that the testimonies of the witnesses of the ADP were mere hearsay since most of them were not at the respective polling units, where elections took place.
It also stated that INEC had the power to suspend an election in line with Section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
The tribunal further said that there was no evidence that after the suspension of the election, the petitioners refused to participate in the process, declaring that the petitioners have failed to adduce evidence to impugn Wike’s election.