Tony John, Port Harcourt
Court of Appel in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has upheld the re-election of Governor Nyesom Wike in the March 9, 2019, governorship poll.
The court also struck out the application filed by Action Democratic Party (ADP) candidate, Victor Fengesi, for lack of merit.
Fingesi had approached the Court of Appeal after the election tribunal on October 5, 2019 dismissed his petition challenging the re-election of Wike, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate during the election.
The five-member appeal panel, in a unanimous decision delivered by Justice H. N. Ogunwimiji, yesterday, also said the appeal was incompetent.
Ogunwimiji declared the ADP governorship candidate failed to prove that the election was marred by irregularities.
She said Fingesi could not produce evidence that would invalidate Wike’s election.
The Court of Appeal further stated that anyone who asserts, must lead relevant evidence to prove such allegations.
Also, the court declared the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the power to take action on elections when emergencies arise.
The Appeal Court stated that INEC derived such powers from Section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act.
It held that the petitioner lacked the locus standi to file the petition as earlier ruled by the state governorship election tribunal.
Justices T. N. Ababua, U. Omyenenn, H. A. Barka and I. B. Idiris agreed with the lead judgment.
INEC counsel, Garba Tetengi (SAN), said the appeal was struck out for incompetence.
The governor counsel, Dike Udenna, said the tribunal came to the conclusion that the tribunal was right to uphold Wike election.
Meanwhile, Wike has approved the appointment of 15 special advisers.
They are Sunny Wokekoro, Alabo George Kerley, Okiri Aribitonye, Erastus Awortu, Sylvester Mgbor, Victor Ekaro, Innocent Wali, George Ariolu, Deima Iyalla and Emma Utchay.
Others are Nkem Nwaribe, Harvey Ideozu, Andy Nwanjoku, Austin Sor and Otonye Briggs.
Special Assistant to the governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, in a statement said the appointees will be sworn in at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House, Port Harcourt, tomorrow.