Oct 25, 2015 – Jubilation In Rivers State As Tribunal Sacks Governor Wike, Orders New Election
There are mixed feelings in Rivers State, following the judgment delivered by the Justice Mohammed Ambrusa-led tribunal in Abuja, which nullified the governorship election, held in the state in April 11, 2015. The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Governor Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike of the PDP winner.
As expected, as soon as the news of the nullification of the result filtered into the state, the winning camp(APC supporters) received it with rapturous jubilation, while the defeated camp (PDP supporters) became calm as a grave yard, while members wore gloomy faces.
There had been anxiety in the air since Friday that the tribunal announced that it would deliver judgment yesterday. Most Rivers people had been hooked to the social media, stayed glued to the television and radio, waiting anxiously for the outcome of the much-awaited judgment.
When we went to the town to sample the opinion of the people and to monitor the mood in Port Harcourt, after the cancellation of the election result, what was seen were sadness and joy in both camps.
At the APC secretariat located at the Old GRA, Port Harcourt, Mgbuoshimiri area in Obio/Akpor LGA and other areas, many supporters of the party were seen jubilating .
Some of them said they were not surprised at the judgment, going by the massive electoral fraud which characterised the April 11, governorship election and others.
Commending the tribunal, APC Woman leader, Roseline Agbea, describe members of the tribunal as incorruptible. According to the excited APC woman leader, “ the glory of Rivers will be restored.”
But to Barrister Hudson, the cancellation was not surprising as according to him, it would help to ‘right the wrongs’ of the April 11 governorship election in the state. “I knew it would be cancelled. Let him (Wike) prepare for another election.”
And to Barrister Finjite Amachree, it was a perverse judgment. He said: “It is a perverse judgment. The tribunal closed its eyes to critical evidence. The lawyers in the case, filed their addresses on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. When you consider that, about 100 witnesses were called, think of all the exhibits and all the hundreds of pages the lawyers filed and it took them just four days to write a judgment. Furthermore, the case of the APC is that, there was no election, but they said that the election was marred by violence.”
A businessman in Port Harcourt, Matthew Eze, was sad about the judgment and expressed optmism that Wike would be victorious when there is a re-run.
“We want Wike to rule us. Wike is okay for us. Whether or not they cancel the election, Wike will still rule. He will win again because, we are going to come out even more, to vote for him. We like Wike and his developmental projects.
Another resident of Port Harcourt, Udoka Aguagba, a student, said peace was what was paramount in the state.
She said: “I don’t understand what they are doing in Rivers State. They don’t want peace to reign in this state. This is unconstitutional.
“They cancelled the election, out of desperation. They were anxious to cancel it. We saw what happened in Katsina, where under-aged children of 9, 10, 11 years voted during the Presidential election. But the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, did not cancel the election. He allowed it so that peace would reign in the country. But, out of desperation, they have cancelled Rivers State election.”
Some other persons who also spoke to Sunday Sun explained that they were looking forward to a smooth, free, fair and violence-free re-run in the next 90 days.
In his reaction, one of the gubernatorial aspirants in the 2015 general election, under the platform of Labour Party, Prince Tonye Princewill said there was no need for Wike to appeal the judgment.
In press state issued in Port Harcourt yesterday entitled: “Rivers Election Petition – No need to appeal” , he said the judgment was not surprising to him.
He said: “Even as it may have come as a surprise to many neutral observers, it was no surprise to me, my supporters and many Rivers people, who came out on that fateful day to try and cast their vote.
Even PDP supporters, I’m sure in their heart of hearts, knew that this day would come. Like I said to my supporters on that election day, justice will prevail and the truth of this day will come out. If the APC legal team could not prove that there was no election in Rivers State, nobody could. It was that obvious.”
I’d like to thank all the judges for upholding the law, the parties for conducting their briefs with civility and the people of Rivers State for surviving this period. If I was the PDP, I would not even bother to appeal this judgment. I’d rather head back to the court of public opinion. Ultimately, that is where this matter will end. Why delay?
To my numerous supporters and well wishers; in the days ahead, I will tell you the role we will play going forward. I told you from day one, not to worry. Your votes will count. I meant it.”
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