By The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the elections of Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Nyesom Wike (Rivers) Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and David Umahi (Ebonyi), declaring them the duly elected governors of their states.
In his ruling, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal against the election of Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo after the application was withdrawn by the appellant.
The apex court later went on to declare Dankwambo as the validly elected governor of Gombe State.
In giving the ruling, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun upturned the verdict of the appeal Court, which on December 16, 2015 nullified governor Wike’s elections and ordered a rerun within 90 days.
The judgment was supported by the seven-man panel of the court and the reason for the judgement is to be listed on February 12.
The road to the Supreme Court for Governor Wike began in October 2015 when the Rivers State Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja nullified his election as Governor of Rivers State. Delivering judgment in the case filed by the All Progressives Congress Governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside, Justice Suleiman Ambursa, who headed the three-man tribunal, held that the testimonies of Wike’s witnesses were weak, and as such could not prove the governor’s case beyond reasonable doubt.
It also held that witnesses of Governor Wike made contradictory statements, which further complicated his case.
Not satisfied with the tribunal’s ruling, Governor Wike headed to the Appeal Court, which on December 16, 2015, struck out the appeal of Governor Wike. In reaching its decision, the Appeal Court unanimously dismissed all the seven issues he raised, and upheld the decision of the tribunal on the conduct of a fresh governorship election be held.
He had asked the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal, arguing that the lower court failed to consider the evidence – that a proper election took place in Rivers state on April 11 – tendered before it.
The five-man panel of the appellate court held that Mr Wike was not validly elected as governor, having failed to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the electoral guidelines laid down by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).