The Supreme Court in Abuja on Friday, February 12, gave reasons for nullifying the simultaneous verdicts of both the Court of Appeal and the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which invalidated the election of Governor Nyesom Wike.
The Apex court had delivered the judgement on January 27, however, it promised to explain the reasons for it on February 12, 2016.
In the lead judgement delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the apex court insisted 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.
According to her, the action of the tribunal was a good ground to set aside the entire proceedings before it, but that since it was an election matter which was time-bound, according to section 289 (6) and (7) of the constitution, it was necessary to consider the appeal according to its merit, Premium Times reports.
Speaking on the alleged violation of documents tendered at the tribunal and the appeal court, she said the function of the card reader, though quite commendable in the conduct of the 2015 elections, is solely to authenticate the owner of the voter’s card and prevent multiple voting by a single voter.
Justice Kekere-Ekun said the card reader cannot replace the voters register, recognised by the constitution.
The Supreme 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.