Tribunal Annuls 20 Rivers Lawmakers’ Election, Orders Rerun

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Owaji Ibani

The Rivers State legislative election petition tribunals sitting in Abuja yesterday nullified the election of 20 out of the 32 members of the state House of Assembly.

The four tribunals, in separate judgments yesterday, upheld the petitions by candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election and ordered rerun in the affected constituencies.

The nullification of the 20 lawmakers’ election came about 48 hours after the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal also annulled the election of Governor Nyesom Wike and ordered a rerun.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of the House, who are affected by the tribunals’ verdicts, include the Speaker, Owaji Ibani, representing Andoni state constituency.

Yesterday, the tribunals upheld the petitioners’ evidence, particularly in relation to allegations of irregularities and violence among other electoral malpractices.

The tribunals were of the view that the petitioners were, by the evidence led, able to prove their case.

The PDP is now left with just 11 seats in the House with the remaining one belonging to the APC.

The affected lawmakers are, under the Electoral Act, entitled, within 21 days, to challenge the nullification of the elections at the appellate court.

The affected constituencies are Gokana, Eleme, Obio Akpor 1 and 2, Etche 2, Opobo/Nkoro and Akukutoru 2,

Others are Asari Toru 1 and 2, Bonny, Tai, Onelga 1, Degema, Ahoada East -1, Khana-1 and 2, Ikwerre, Phalga-2, Andoni.

The tribunals, however, upheld elections in 11 constituencies won by the PDP. They are Oyigbo, Etche 1, Omuma, Ogu-Bolo, Phalga 1 And 3, Onelg 2, Abua-Odual, Ahoada West, Ahoada East 2 and Emuoha.

The petition challenging the election in Okrika constituency, where the former First Lady, Patience Jonathan hails from, was earlier dismissed.

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