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Why we reversed Wike’s sack — Supreme Court reinstates Rivers State Gov

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (centre), addressing a crowd of his supporters as he arrives Port Harcourt, the state capital immediately after the tribunal ruling, while his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Banigo (left) and Bro. Felex Obuah – State PDP Chairman accompanying him at Omagwa International Airport.

lower courts:
“improperly evaluated” the case made against Wike’s election by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its Governorship Candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside,’

‘… undue reliance of appeal court and election tribunal on card reader reports. The reports from the Smart Card Reader Machines … cannot override the Voters’ Register, which has firm root in the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended.’

Supreme Court Verdicts Took Nigeria So Many Years Backward
Nigeria. Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria sitting on Friday, gave reasons, it reversed the concurrent judgments of both the Court of Appeal and the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which nullified the election of Governor Nyesom Wike.
Photo: .abiafactsnews
In a unanimous decision yesterday, a seven-panel panel of Justices of the apex court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Muhammed, in the lead judgement delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, maintained that Wike who contested the April 11, 2015 Rivers State governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was denied fair hearing by the lower courts.

Aside faulting the lower courts, which it said “improperly evaluated” the case made against Wike’s election by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its Governorship Candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the apex court, yesterday, decried what it termed undue reliance of appeal court and election tribunal on card reader reports. The Supreme Court restated its position that reports from the Smart Card Reader Machines the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, used for the conduct of the 2015 general elections, cannot override the Voters’ Register, which it said has firm root in the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended.

The Court said it would not ordinarily interfere with the concurrent findings of two lower courts unless it was shown that the verdicts were:

 “perverse or not based on the proper and dispassionate appraisal of evidence or that there was an error either of fact or law, which occasioned the miscarriage of justice”. 

It said out of 66 witnesses that were called by APC and Peterside, 18 of them were ward collation agents who received information from polling agents from the various units, saying their evidence was not tied to any of the exhibits tendered. 

The seven man panel of Justices, commended for the introduction of the Card Reader “to booster the accuracy and transparency of the accreditation process and to maintain the democratic norm of one-man-one-vote, by detecting multiple voting by voters, “Section 49 (1) and (2) of the Electoral Act which provide for manual accreditation of voters, is a stamp and remain a vital part of our electoral law.”

The Court said it was not enough for anyone that is challenging the outcome of an election on the premise that there was over-voting, to merely tender and rely on card reader reports, without linking same with the actual voters’ register. It said the card reader was only a technological innovation that was introduced to enhance the accreditation of voters for an election, with a view to identifying the actual owner of the voters’ card.
“This court in a number of recent decisions, had commended the introduction of the Card Reader in the 2015 elections by INEC.
The court had noted, however, that its introduction was solely to authenticate the owner of the voters’ card and to prevent multiple voting by a voter, and cannot replace the voters register or statement of result in appropriate form.

 

RIVERS POLL: Why we reversed Wike’s sack — Supreme Court

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/02/rivers-poll-why-we-reversed-wikes-sack-supreme-court/

RIVERS POLL: Why we reversed Wike’s sack — Supreme Court

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/02/rivers-poll-why-we-reversed-wikes-sack-supreme-court/

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