Supreme Court okays Wike, Amosun, Umahi


The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the elections of three governors.

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun and Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi were cleared by the apex court to continue in office.

The court, in three unanimous judgments in the appeals filed by Wike, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), set aside the concurrent judgments of the Rivers State governorship election and the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

The appeals were all heard yesterday by a seven-man panel headed by Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Mahmud Mohammed.

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the lead judgments in the three appeals, upheld the return of Wike as winner of the election.

She said: “I find and hold that this appeal is meritorious and it is allowed. The judgment of the lower court delivered on the 16th of November 2015 and the judgment of the tribunal delivered on 24th October 2015 are hereby set aside.

“The petition of the petitioners is dismissed. The return of Nyesom Wike as governor of Rivers State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is restored.”

Justice Kekere-Ekun said she will provide reasons for her decision on February 12.

Justices Mohammed, Ibrahim Mohammed Sylvester Ngwuta, Kumai Akaahs and Amiru Sanusi, who were members of the panel, agreed with Justice Kekere-Ekun’s lead judgment.

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dakuku Peterside, and his party had gone before the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal to challenge Wike’s return by INEC as the winner of the April 11, 2015 governorship election.

The tribunal, which sat in Abuja, held in its judgment of October 24, 2015, in favour of the petitioners, voided the election on grounds of widespread violence and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

It ordered a rerun election within 90 days.

Wike, PDP and INEC appealed the tribunal’s decision at the Court of Appeal, Abuja. The appellate court, in a unanimous judgment by a five-man panel on November 16, 2015, upheld the tribunal’s judgment.

Both decisions were set aside yesterday by the apex court in the judgment given around 6.30pm.

Supporters of Wike and his party, who were in court, broke into jubilation as Peterside’s supporters looked mournful.

In a unanimous decision, the court dismissed the appeal by the PDP governorship candidate in Ogun State, Adegboyega Isiaka.

Isiaka had challenged the judgments of the Court of Appeal and the Ogun State Governorship Election Tribunal, which upheld the election of Ibikunle Amosun as governor.

Justice Akaahs, who read the lead judgment held that the appeal lacked merit and dismissed it.

The apex court equally dismissed the appeal by the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Ebonyi State, Edward Nkwegu.

Justice Chima Centus Nweze, who read the lead judgment, held that the preliminary objection raised by Umahi succeeds in part.

He resolved the two issues on the main appeal against the appellant.

“No merit in this appeal. Umahi is the duly elected governor of Ebonyi State. Reasons will be given on Friday, January 29,” he held.

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