Rivers Re-run: Appeal Court Upholds Election of Abe, Removal of Sekibo

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday upheld the election of Senator Magnus Abe of the All Progressives Congress (APC), representing Rivers South East in the Senate.
The appeal brought against Abe by Oloka Johnson Nwogu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was dismissed for ‘lacking in merit and baseless’
In th judgement delivered by Justice Habeeb Adewale Abiru, the court said that the issues raised by Nwogu in his petition against Abe’s election were criminal in nature and were not proved beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.
In another judgment, the appellate court dismissed the appeal brought before it by Senator George Thompson Sekibo, challenging the decision of the Rivers State National and State Election Petition Tribunal which sat in Abuja, to uphold the election of Andrew Uchendu of All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Tribunal had in June returned Uchendu as the duly elected Senator for Rivers East.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Adamu Jauro, held that the petition lacked merit and substance and consequently dismissed it
The appeal court held that the Tribunal was correct in the removal of Sekibo from the Senate on the grounds that the provisions of the electoral act were violated in the conduct of the election.
The Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal had in a judgment delivered last June ordered the removal of Sekibo as the Senator representing the people of Rivers East Senatorial District at the National Assembly.
Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Goddy Anunihu in the judgment also ordered the immediate replacement of Sekibo with Andrew Uchendu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which the court held was the winner of the senatorial election.
The Tribunal also directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return it issued to Sekibo and issue a fresh Certificate of Return to Uchendu.
The Tribunal’s decision was predicated on the grounds that Uchendu won the lawful majority vote cast during the Rivers Re-run legislative election.
Also, the Tribunal had sighted substantial non compliance with the Electoral Act and INEC guidelines for arriving at the decision to order the removal of Sekibo from office.
Not satisfied with the judgment of the Tribunal, Sekibo approached the appellate court to upturn the decision of the Tribunal.
The appeal marked: CA/A/EPT/487/2017, dated 20th July 2017 and filed same day by his counsel, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) contained 23 grounds upon which the judgment of the tribunal was been challenged.
But Justice Jauro refused to upturn the Tribunal’s verdict on the grounds that the findings by the Tribunal were accurate and correct in law.
The appeal Court held that the election had been found to have been conducted in breach of the electoral act and INEC guidelines such an election shall be liable to dismissal as rightly done by the Tribunal.
In the third appeal on Rivers West Senatorial District, the Appellate court also upheld the election of Senator Osinachukwu Ideozu of the PDP.
The court in the judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Mustapha dismissed the appeal brought against Ideozu by Otelemaba Amachree of the All Progressive Congress.
With the judgment yesterday, the APC now has two Senators while the PDP has one from Rivers State.

Author: News Editor

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