The River State National and State Assembly Tribunal sitting at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja has dismissed the petition filed by Christian Ichechukwu Aleruba and the National Rescue Movement against the election of PDP’s Kingsley Chinda, who is the House of Representatives member for Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency in Rivers state.
Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency is same LGA where the former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike. hails from.
The petitioner contested the office of House of Representatives, Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency in the last National Assembly Election held on 25th February, 2023
Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the PDP candidate winner with a total votes of 60, 899 votes while Chinda was said to have scored 157 votes.
But the petitioners challenged the polls expressing displeasure with the results declared by INEC, accusing the electoral umpire of fundamentally breaching its guidelines.
The petitioners through their counsel, Emmanuel C. contended that going by the polling unit results he downloaded from the INEC Results Viewing Portal, IREV, INEC wrongly returned the PDP candidate as winner.
He urged the Tribunal to annul the election on the grounds that INEC breached its guidelines while mandating INEC to conduct another election within 3 months from the day of judgement.
The petitioners also alleged that contrary to the declared results, the electorate voted massively for him but at the conclusion of voting, his party’s polling units agents were allegedly chased away by PDP political thugs, thereby making it impossible to access the Form EC8As (PUs sheets).
But the legal team for PDP and its candidate, Wale Balogun including INEC, urged the panel to dismiss the petition for being incompetent and for want of jurisdiction because it was filed out of time required by law.
Reading their unanimous judgement on Friday, a three-man panel chaired by Justice A.O Okesanwo said the petitioners were required by law to prove their case with evidence because the burden of proof rests on them.
She held that the result on election forms is the only recognised mode of declaring an election results and no other means, adding that the petitioners failed to avail the court with any of the electoral documents including Form EC8E.