The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has insisted that nobody ran election against him and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the March 9, 2019 Governorship election.
Wike and other Rivers leaders proceeded to the Government House Chapel of Everlasting Grace for Thanksgiving on the tribunal judgment that affirmed his victory.
Reacting to the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal judgement, Wike said but for reliance on connection, all PDP candidates had no opponents in the state.
The governor said: “It is so painful that someone could say that no election held in Rivers State. There was nobody who ran the election against us.
“But for connection, how can anyone say he ran election against us in Rivers State”.
Wike said that he would never be distracted by the antics of the opposition, as he will continue to promote the interest of Rivers State.
“I will never be distracted. I will do everything in the interest of Rivers State. I will continue to work. Nothing will distract me”, he said.
The Rivers State governor expressed happiness that justice has been done in the petition, and thanked his legal team for their commitment.
Ahmed Raji, SAN, attributed the victory to God who has brought the state thus far, saying that from the very beginning, God showed His hand in favour of Rivers State.
Raji said that God crowned the efforts of the legal team with success, emphasising that the judgment was a judicial confirmation of the votes of Rivers people.
Also speaking, Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) said Wike was a winner anytime, stressing that what God has done, nobody can change it.
In his remarks, National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus congratulated Wike on his victory at the tribunal, adding that justice has been served on Rivers people through the judgment.
Secondus said that in a normal setting, nobody would challenge the victory in court, because Rivers people spoke clearly.
Earlier, the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal had affirmed the re-election of Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike following the dismissal of the petition filed by the defeated African Action Congress (AAC) Governorship Candidate, Engineer Biokpomabo Awara seeking the nullification of the March 9, Rivers State Governorship Election.
Also on Saturday, the tribunal dismissed the petition filed by the defeated Action Democratic Party (ADP) Governorship Candidate, Mr Victor Fingesi against the election of Wike.
“We affirm the election of Nyesom Wike as duly elected”, the tribunal declared.
The tribunal said that both petitioners failed to prove their petitions beyond reasonable doubt, and stressed that they failed to adduce evidence to prove that the election was marred by violence and irregularities.
The judgment of the tribunal in the AAC petition was read by Justice K. B. Olawoyin.
The said that Wike won 19 out of the 21 local government areas where elections held, while the petitioner won in two local government areas.
The tribunal said the petitioner failed to call any witness to give credible evidence that there were malpractices during the election that favoured Wike.
It also held that the first petitioner can no longer lead any general and nebulous evidence on violence.
The tribunal noted that what was suspended was the collation of results for six local government areas, insisting that as at the time of the suspension of collation, INEC had concluded collation of results in 17 local government areas.
The Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal stated that by participating in the collation process, the petitioner waited his right to complain.
The tribunal said that the petitioner called 20 witnesses, adding that it had earlier struck out the evidence of two witnesses.
It ruled that the results tendered by the petitioner, Engineer Biokpomabo Awara while giving evidence were inadmissible, and therefore, expunged from the records.
According to the tribunal, the AAC Governorship Candidate tendered certified true copy of the state Governorship Election and the declaration of results by INEC, stating that neither Awara nor any of his witnesses tendered any results different from that of INEC.
The tribunal said Awara failed to call his polling unit agents to testify, even though he admitted that they were all alive, and held that PW3 to 19 who testified were alleged ward or local government agents, whose testimonies have been found not to be credible.
It added that even the results tendered by Awara had no names of polling unit agents, no signatures of polling unit agents and had no INEC stamp, and therefore, declared the said results inadmissible and of no value.
The tribunal ruled that the petitioner witness three (PW3) was not a credible witness; hence his evidence was disregarded, and held that the evidence of PW3 was contrary to the petitioner’s pleadings in his petition.
It further said that Exhibits AA1 to A12 tendered by PW4 were inadmissible in evidence, because PW4 was not the maker, and ruled that the documents were dumped on tribunal, with no polling agents called to give evidence.
While expunging the exhibits from its records, the tribunal said that the evidence of PW4 has no value as it has not proved any electoral malpractice.
The evidence of PW6 of the AAC Governorship Candidate was discredited under cross-examination, the tribunal noted, adding that the evidence of PW6 contradicted his answers during cross examination.
The tribunal noted that PW6 said that the election was peaceful, but insisted that PW6 was not a credible witness, as he lied under oath.
According to the tribunal, aside the names of the witnesses and their respective wards, the witness statements of all of them were the same and each had seven paragraphs.
It held that the evidence of PW7 and the Ward Collation Agent in Omuma LGA, Stanley Nweke, was at variance with the pleadings of the petitioner, and held that the evidence of PW7 was of no value, and therefore, discountenanced.
The tribunal also threw out the evidence of PW9, Henry Iyalla, whose name was not found in INEC’s official list of collation agents, and described him as an imposter, just as it said that Iyalla’s evidence did not contradict the fact that election held in Degema LGA.
On PW10, it held that he did not tender any results of elections in the polling units.
According to the tribunal, the evidence of PW10 goes to no issue because it contradicted the results pleaded by the petitioner.
It held that most of the witnesses of the AAC were not credible, as they discredited themselves through contradictory statements.
The tribunal noted however, that PW21 and the State Collation Agent of AAC, Mr Nenye Kocha, was consistent in his testimony from collation centre to the tribunal that the AAC lost the Governorship election.
According to the tribunal, Kocha was a truthful witness, whose evidence was credible, just as it placed probative value on his testimony.
The tribunal also accepted the testimony of PW22, Joseph Osademe, a producer with AIT, who tendered the video clip showing INEC officials declaring the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike winner of the election.
It also placed value on the document tendered by the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, ACP Victor Onugbo.
The document tendered by the police before the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, authenticated the electoral victory of Governor Nyesom Wike during the March 9, 2019 election.
The tribunal aligned with the testimony of the police, saying that it was credible.
It further stated that the fact that the first and second petitioners were opposed to each other was another ground to dismiss the petition.
Determining the petition of the ADP Governorship Candidate, Mr Victor Fingesi on its merit, the tribunal held that the petitioner failed woefully to prove that Wike did not score the highest number of lawful votes during the March 9, 2019 Governorship election.
Justice Kingsley Orjiako said that the petitioner’s complaint was vague and merely speculative.
The tribunal stated that the first petitioner did not know the number of registered voters in the state, and further noted that the petitioner under cross examination said he had no knowledge of the number of registered voters in his own polling unit in Okrika LGA.
It noted that the allegation that the winner did not score the highest number of votes was an invitation to compare figures, and held that the petitioner ought to plead his own results and that of the winner for the court to cross check.
Justice Orjiako noted that there was no evidence of any alleged inflation of results, as the evidence remains vague.
The tribunal held that the burden of proof was strictly on the petitioner and not on any weakness of the defence of the respondents.
It agreed with INEC that election was conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The tribunal explained that the testimonies of the witnesses of the ADP were mere hearsay, since most of them were not at the respective polling units where elections took place, and described most of the witnesses of ADP as impostors who capitulated in the face of cross-examination.
It said that it examined the testimonies on a local government by local government basis, adding that despite the litany of documents pleaded by the petitioner, he could only tender poorly investigated newspaper reports.
The tribunal said that INEC has the power to suspend an election, in line with Section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, and also held that the ADP Governorship Candidate lacks the locus standi to file the petition, having sued the first petitioner, instead of Wike who won the governorship election.
Reacting to the judgment, the Rivers State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bro. Felix Obuah, expressed delight over the judgment of the Rivers State Election Petitions Tribunal, which dismissed the petition of the candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr. Victor Fingesi, in the March 9, 2019 Governorship Election in Rivers State.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam, Obuah commended the tribunal for rising to the occasion, stressing that justice has, once again, been dispassionately dispensed.
The state PDP boss also commended the wise decision and forthrightness of the tribunal Chairman, Justice Kingsley Orjiako, reiterating that Wike’s re-election was a divine order, which any attempt by man to upturn, would be an exercise in futility.
Stressing that Wike was God-sent to Rivers people and that no weapon formed against him shall succeed, Obuah said the time was rife for those still agitated over the outcome of the 2019 General Election, to put the elections behind for the overall interest of the state, adding that what God has approved, no man can reverse.
The Rivers PDP chairman said the Olive branch offered the opposition politicians was a demonstration of Wike’s large heart, and enjoined people, irrespective of political affiliation, to join the progressive train of the Wike administration to move the state forward.
Obuah restated his conviction that the Wike-led administration has demystified governance in the state with remarkable improvement in all sectors of the economy, saying the door was wide open for good ideas that would benefit all and sundry.
Also reacting, the Executive Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, Hon. Solomon Eke lauded the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal for dismissing the petitions of the ADP Governorship Candidate, Mr Victor Fingesi and that of the AAC candidate, Engineer Biokpomabo Awara in the March 9th governorship election in the state.
In a message released via the Chairman’s social media handle, Eke described the judgement as a victory for all Rivers people.
“Today’s judgment is a true reflection of the peoples mandate given to His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike. This is a victory for all Rivers people.”
The message also congratulated the governor and Rivers people over the victory at the tribunal.
“I heartily felicitate with the good people of Rivers State and congratulate our amiable governor over this victorious judgement. This is indeed the people’s verdict,” the statement read.
Similarly, the Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Council, Chief Odiari Princewill and the good people of ASALGA celebrated as Governor Nyesom Wike recorded another judicial milestone in the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal.
In a statement shortly after the judgment, last Saturday, Odiari said that with the four-hour unanimous judgement, the tribunal judges have shown that the Judiciary remains the last hope of the ordinary man.
He described the AAC petition as an effort aimed at building castle in the air.
Odiari noted that the tribunal’s order that a cost of N900,000 be paid to PDP, Wike and INEC by Awara was justifiable and would serve as punishment for taking the people of the state through the tribunal without any reason.
He said, “Once more, this is a victory for democracy and Rivers people”.
APC’s Ploy To Ban, Regulate Social Media, Hypocritical, Wike Affirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says it is hypocritical for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to contemplate banning or regulating social media after using it to hoodwink Nigerians to attain power.
He argued that the APC-led government has miserably failed, and wants to use its disagreement with Twitter as a false premise to suppress criticism of the administration’s appalling handling of the affairs of the nation through the dubious regulation of social media.
The governor, who make this assertion during the inauguration of nine reconstructed streets: Nzimiro, Herbert Macaulay, Amassoma, Arochukwu, Atako, Ogoja, Akure, Yola and Chinwo in Old Government Residential Area of Port Harcourt, noted that APC, having become the butt of jokes on social networks, was desperate to trample on freedom of expression of Nigerians.
“You have misled the country. You told us lies through social media. The same social media that you used to take over government, the same social media you want to regulate and ban. The same social media you used to tell Nigerians lies of how former President Goodluck Jonathan did not do this, how PDP did not do that.
“Now, you want the same social media to be regulated. You don’t want freedom of speech. Now, you want to gag them. Did anybody gag you when you were using them?”
Wike said the kidnap of scores of students at Federal Government Girls College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State, last Thursday, was a further demonstration of APC’s gross ineptitude to guarantee safety of lives and property of Nigerians.
According to him, Nigerians are anxious for the APC to quit power and allow the more experienced Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to once again restore stability in the polity and dignity of the nation.
“You wake up every morning to hear 20 people have been kidnapped; 30 people have been kidnapped and people are telling us to keep quiet. Is it when they have kidnapped your own daughter?”
The governor also took a swipe at the Presidency for berating PDP governors, who demanded for transparency and accountability in the way the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was managed and that the APC-led government should be alive to its constitutional responsibility to protect lives and property.
“In Kebbi, 40 to 50 girls have been kidnapped, our young daughters. And then, you are telling me we (PDP) have not proffered solution. Which solution are you talking about? The President is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the president that appoints all the security heads in this country.
“No governor has the power or any role to appoint even a Commissioner of Police. And then, you are telling me that we have not proffered any solution. What solution do you want us to proffer, when you have taken your oath of office that you are going to guarantee the lives and property of Nigerians?”
Wike noted that even President Muhammadu Buhari during his recent television interview, had disclosed to Nigerians that he has nothing left to offer the country in terms of good governance.
“The president spoke to us the other day and Nigerians were happy the way he spoke to them, he told them the truth. And the truth is that whether you like it or not, I have nothing again to offer and that was the truth. And people must agree to that.”
The governor said his administration has deliberately embarked on massive urban renewal drive aimed at restoring the Garden City status of Port Harcourt.
According to him, it was regrettable that past administrations in the state did not consider it appropriate to restore the lost glory of Port Harcourt.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP, Senator Walid Jubril, who inaugurated the nine streets, commended Wike for transforming Port Harcourt, such that even the blind can attest to it.
Jubril said the entire board of trustees of the PDP was proud of Wike’s steadfast commitment to the PDP.
According to him, party stalwarts across the country, are impressed with the governor’s remarkable achievements and leadership.
“Anybody, who is from this state and is trying to go astray, I am not with him. I am with the people of this state, and I will remain with you (Wike).”
The Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi, said the nine streets have a combined length of 4.2km and 6.5km of drains.
He explained that the scope of work includes; road expansion, construction of drainages, walkways, asphalt overlay, street lighting and road marking.
He listed some of the benefits of the reconstructed streets to include: ease of movement, reduction in travel time, reduction of vehicle wear and tear, protection and enhancement of real estate values, and improving living standards.
Fulfill Promise To Complete East-West Road, Wike Charges FG
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has urged the Federal Government to expeditiously complete the abandoned East-West Road because of its economic importance.
He said the neglect of the East-West Road, particularly the Eleme axis where the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone, Port Harcourt Refinery, and Onne seaport were situated, was unacceptable.
Wike stated this during the inauguration of Community Secondary School, Eteo, Eleme; and Community Secondary School, Obeakpu-Ndoki, Oyigbo, respectively, last Friday.
“I urge the Federal Government under the APC to please fulfill promises they made to Nigerians, fulfill promises they made to Rivers State.
“It is unfortunate; look at the East-West Road, this part of it has almost collapsed. The money comes from where? The money comes from us. Can you see this part of the road anywhere in this country?
“They are taking us for granted because we have nobody. God in his infinite mercy will give us somebody. The kind of treatment we are receiving from this Federal Government is unacceptable.”
The governor charged the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to visit the Eleme section of the East-West Road to appreciate the agony of the people of the area.
He further decried the failure of the Minister of Transportation, who hails from Rivers State to ensure that both the Port Harcourt and Onne ports function optimally for the benefit of the state.
Wike explained that prior to the reconstruction of Community Secondary School, Eteo, students were learning in a very unconducive environment, worst still, without chairs.
He stated that the state government decided to reconstruct the 24 classrooms school to improve access to quality education in the state.
“We are not only focusing on road, we are also focusing on health and we are also focusing on education. This will improve access to quality education.”
The governor appealed to the teachers and students of the school to utilise the facilities provided by the state government and make sure that the school is protected.
Wike commended Eleme youths for resisting attempts by some persons with secessionist agenda to use the community as a base for their nefarious activities.
According to him, Rivers State believes in the unity of the country, and will continue to insist that every section of the country should be accorded equal opportunities and privileges.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP, Senator Walid Jubril, who inaugurated the Eteo Secondary School, said the party was proud of the developmental strides of Wike.
Jubril further commended the governor for his steadfast defence and support of the PDP.
Similarly, former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, who inaugurated the Community Secondary School, Obeakpu-Ndoki, said the achievements of Wike were worthy of emulation by other governors.
He explained that as a party man, Wike has displayed total commitment, total loyalty and total faith in the survival and management of the PDP.
“Governor Wike remains a role model, worthy to be emulated. I advised other governors to come to Port Harcourt to see what Governor Wike is doing.”
Also speaking, the Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku, said the two inaugurated schools will further create access to quality education in the state.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects, George Kelly D. Alabo, said the reconstructed secondary school at Eteo has 24 classrooms, library, laboratory, chapel and connected to the national grid.
Don’t Borrow Money Without Approval, Wike Warns New LG Chairmen
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has told newly sworn-in chairmen of the 23 local government areas of the state not to approach any financial institution to borrow money without first clearing with the state government.
The governor gave the warning shortly after the elected chairmen of the 23 LGAs took their oath of office at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
According to Wike, the caution has become necessary in order to stem unguarded desire of some council chairman to access money without any development plan.
“Don’t go and borrow money without the state government approval. Some of you tried it last time and started with your blackmail, saying help us, we are finished. You have no authority to go and borrow money. Even we as state government, before we go and borrow money we get approval from the Debt Management Office. No bank will even give us.
“Before you borrow money, the state must know what you want to use it for, and how you will pay it back, so that others who are coming will not suffer because of your indebtedness.”
Wike also charged the council chairmen to pay proper attention to issues of security in order to stem likely security breaches in their various councils.
The governor particularly urged them to establish a robust working relationship both with the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and the traditional rulers that will engender having regular security meetings for proper briefings.
“Stay in your council areas. Don’t stay in hotels and in Port Harcourt. If you’re not at home, how do you know about the security situation in your local government? Security is key!
“Relate with your DPOs. It does not cost you anything. Even if it cost you, governance is not easy. Governance is expensive. Security is expensive. Some of you cannot relate with the DPOs.
“It’s only when you have a problem that you relate with your DPOs and some of them are intelligent and when you call them that time, they turn their face the other way. You must make effort to relate with your DPOs.”
The governor urged the council chairmen to ensure they hold Security Council meeting weekly or better still, once in every two weeks for proper briefing.
Speaking further, Wike warned them against embarking on needless travel outside of the state and the country without notifying the state government.
He also encouraged them to work to strengthen the unity of the party in their various councils, consult widely with the leaders over appointments, and on other issues that will give everybody a sense of belonging.
Wike frowned at the worsening sanitary conditions particularly in Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt City, Eleme, Oyigbo LGAs, and charged the council chairmen to work assiduously to regularly evaluate refuse dumped on major roads in their councils.
The state governor revealed that the state government prevented the former chairmen whose tenure ended, last Wednesday, from paying local government workers salary due to security report and complains by some councillors and political appointees that they will not be paid what was due them.
“So, I decided to suspend the payment of local government workers and political appointees, so that the newly sworn-in chairmen will have to pay them without any crisis whatsoever.”
He said the state government will set up a committee to oversee the payment of all entitlement of immediate past chairmen, their political appointees and councillors.
According to him, “All the former council chairmen, all political appointees and councillors must be paid their money.”
Wike said he has received intelligence report that some council chairmen have sworn that they will not swear in some elected councillors who they perceive to be opposed to them.
He warned that if this happens, appropriate sanction will be taken against the erring council chairmen.
The newly sworn-in chairmen are, Daniel E. O. Daniel (Abua/Odual); Benjamin Eke (Ahoada East); Hope Ikiriko (Ahoada West); Rowland Sekibo (Akuku-Toru); Barrister Awortu Erastus (Andoni); Onengiyeofori George (Asari-Toru); Irimagha David ( Bonny); Michael Williams (Degema); Obarilormate Ollor (Eleme); Dr. Lloyd Chidi (Emohua); Obinna Anyanwu (Etche); Deko Confidence (Gokana); and Engr Nwanosike Samuel (Ikwerre).
Others include, Bariere Thomas (Khana); Barrister Ariolu George (Obio/Akpor); Nemieboka Vincent (Ogu/Bolo); Akuro Tobin (Okrika); Nwaiwu Chisorom (Omuma); Vincent Job (Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni); Enyiada Cookey-Gam (Opobo/Nkoro); Nwaogu Akara (Oyigbo); Ihunda Allwell (Port Harcourt City); and Mbakpone Okpe (Tai).
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