Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) By Albert OGRAKA–
A Seven member Panel of Supreme Court Justices headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Mahmud Mohammed has upheld the election of Nyesom Wike as the governor of Rivers State.
In a unanimous Judgement delivered on Wednesday in Abuja,the Supreme Court frowned at the Decision of the Justice Suleiman Ambursa led three member panel of Justices and that of Justice Dougban Mensem led five-member Appeal Court Justice which nullified the April 11 governorship election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission in Rivers State on grounds of Card Reader and failure to follow the Guidlines stipulated by INEC.
The court ruled that Card Reader cannot invalidate an election because the accreditation of voters by INEC in Rivers State during the APRIL 11th governorship election was legally done by using both the Card Reader and Manual accreditation process via the voter register.
One of the Justices asked Chief Akin Olujinmi SAN whether the guideline by INEC is bigger than the electoral Act,that question was not answered by Counsel to the Governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress in Rivers State.
The Supreme declared that Barr Nyesom Wike was validly elected as the governor of Rivers state.
Okowa Congratulates Wike, Umahi on Supreme Court Victory
Meanwhile, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has congratulated Governors Nyesom Wike and Dave Umahi of Rivers and Ebonyi States on the affirmation of their electoral victory by the Supreme Court yesterday.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, Governor Okowa, said that by this judgment, the Supreme Court, lifted a burden off the shoulders of well meaning people of Rivers and Ebonyi State and tasked both Governor Wike and Umahi to reciprocate the gesture by running an inclusive government.
“Rivers State, her friends and neighbours waited with baited breath for this favourable judgment. Your ‘long walk’ to victory must not be taken for granted. You must reward the state with open, transparent and purposeful leadership. Rivers people can’t settle for less” Governor Okowa noted.
Governor Okowa also called on the candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Dakuku Peterside, to demonstrate maturity by appealing to his supporters to take the judgment in good faith. This, the Governor said, would provide even ground that would accelerate development in the state.
” This judgment brings to an end all contests for the office of Governor of Rivers State and governance can’t be pigeon-holed if it has to address the good of the people” he said.
The judgement of the apex court on the cases of Governors Wike and Umahi is a victory for our democracy and a reaffirmation of the divine mandate freely given to them by the people of both states and commended the Apex court for ensuring the sanctity of the people’s mandate.
” The ruling of the Supreme Court will go a long way in restoring the hope and confidence of the Nigerian people on the sanctity of the judiciary”.
Okowa who sited the broad- mindedness of Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state, as demonstrated by Fayose’s recent visit to Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state and called on politicians; particularly those of Niger Delta extraction to emulate such principle and begin to align forces for the progress of the region, irrespective of political affiliation.
“We should all learn to be good winners and good losers” Governor Okowa said, and called on residents of the state to refuse to be drawn into bitter confrontation with one another on account of pecuniary interest of any politician.
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