The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday nullified the election of Senators Osinakachukwu Idoezu, Rivers South-West Senatorial District and John Olaka-Nwogo, Rivers South-East Senatorial District, both of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Delivering judgment, Justice Ibrahim Gumel, who led a three-man panel of justices of the appellate court, to determine two separate appeals brought by Senator Magnus Abbe and Otelemagba Dan-Amachree, both of the All Progressives Congress (APC),sacked the two senators on the ground that the election that produced them was conducted in breach of the provisions of the Electoral Act,2010.
The court held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to comply substantially with the provisions of the Electoral Act and other guidelines in the March 28 National Assembly Election, and ordered INEC to conduct re-run within 60 days.
“From the available evidence of even the Independent National Electoral Commission and those of the appellants, the election of March 28th 2015 in Rivers State, did not conform with set guidelines such as the use of voter card reader machines, voter register and other election guidelines.
“All the polling units in the two senatorial districts abandoned the use of card reader machines thereby giving way to manipulations.
“There was no proper accreditation done on the election day as required by law and any election without accreditation as in the instant case cannot stand in the face of the law, because an act done in contravention of the law is nothing but a nullity and illegality,” Gumel said.
The Street Journal recalls that the Rivers State National Assembly Elections Tribunal Panel-Three sitting in Abuja had earlier upheld Ideuzo’s election.
Delivering judgment, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Gideon Kurada, held that the petitioner failed to prove his allegations against the respondent beyond reasonable doubt.
Justice Kurada said the petitioner’s allegation of non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the conduct of the election could not be substantiated.