The governorship election in Rivers State may still not be over yet as more issues are still yet to be settled. This came as indication emerged that the All Progressives Congress, APC in the state may be planning a bounce back to pull a surprise. This could be through the court.
Some of the issues have to do with the primary election that produced candidates in some political parties in the state. Then, other issues have to do with the supplementary election that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,is planning to conduct in the state.
The Supreme Court on Thursday shifted hearing in the four appeals on the rivers state APC primary election for the nomination of candidates for the 2019 general election to Monday, April 8th and Thursday, April 11th for a hearing. The Apex Court adjourned hearing in the matters for various reasons but mainly for the absence of counsel to INEC who was said to have missed his flight from Port Harcourt.
The Appeals are those of Senator Magnus Abe against INEC and others, Mr. Tonye Cole against Senator Magnus Abe, the All Progressive Congress (APC) against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the last one by the APC Seeking consolidation of all the pending appeals.
Senator Magnus Abe in his appeal prayed the Apex Court to make a pronouncement on the authenticity of the direct and indirect primaries of the APC in Rivers State for the nomination of candidates. The appellant specifically wants the court to determine which of the two appeals is known to law and should be recognised by INEC.
However, when the matter came up counsel to Senator Abe, Mr. Henry Bello, informed the Apex Court of his motion seeking to amend his appeal. The matter was stalled as a result of the absence of the INEC counsel who is the first respondent. This prompted the Acting CJN to adjourn the matter to Monday, April 8. In the two other appeals by Mr. Tonye Cole, a factional governorship candidate of the APC and the party, Justice Mohammad shifted hearing in the matters to April 11 to enable parties file and exchange necessary processes. The Acting CJN who led the seven-man panel of the Apex court also abridged time for the parties to file and exchange papers because the matters are time bound, being pre-election matters.
However in a fourth appeal by the APC seeking a consolidation of all existing appeals relating to the primary elections, the court adjourned the matter indefinitely for the party to regularise their processes. Meanwhile, the electoral umpire announced a winner in the governorship election in Rivers State after the resumed collation of results. The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Nyesom Wike, who is also the incumbent governor of Rivers State has defeated his closest rival, the candidate of the African Action Congress, Biokpomabo Awara, The Punch reports.
Wike polled 888,264 votes to beat the candidate of the AAC who polled 137,859 votes. INEC’s collation officer for the governorship election, Prof. Teddy Adias, on Wednesday, declared the PDP candidate winner having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes. Adias declared the total margin between the two contestants as 712,405. He said, “I, this day, confirm again, that I am the collation officer for the elections and that Nyesom Wike of the PDP, having satisfied the requirements of the law, has scored the highest number of votes and is hereby declared winner and returned elected.
“The winner, with the highest votes, scored 886,264 and the second scored 173,859. The margin of lead with these votes stands at 712,405. A total number of registered voters in area where elections did not hold or cancelled stands at 249,324.” The governor won in 19 local government areas out of the 21 that was declared while Awara won in two LGAs; Akuku-Toru (his native area) and Oyigbo LGA. Wike showed an overwhelming strength in his Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, where he polled 281,161 votes, while Awara scored only 7,495 votes.
The incumbent governor also recorded high votes in Andoni, the local government area of Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of the PDP.
Wike also pulled a big surprise by winning in Ikwerre, the native home of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. This political development is still a big puzzle or many after the results were announced.
With the court cases waiting to be concluded and decided, the victory of Governor Wike may still be challenged. No one knows how the whole thing will eventually turn out. Only time will tell.