Rivers: Supreme Court Re-affirms PDP Gov Fubara’s Election , Dismisses Cole’s Petition

The Supreme Court has re-affirmed Amaopusenibo Siminalayi Joseph Fubara as the duly elected Governor of Rivers State in the 18th March Governorship poll.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on 20th March declared PDP’s “Sim” winner with 302614 votes against his closest challenger: Patrick Tamunotonye Cole of the APC with 95274 votes.

Dissatisfied with the result, Cole and the APC approached the tribunal, with the major plank of the petition been:

1. That Mr. Fubara was not qualified to contest the election having not resigned as Accountant-General/Permanent Secretary within the timeframe as stipulated by the Electoral Act and the 1999 CFRN.

2. That there was heavy stuffing of ballot boxes, ballot-box snatching, violence, electoral malpractice and irregularities in the election.

INEC, Fubara and PDP were listed as first, second and third defendants respectively.

In October, the Justice Cletus Emifonye-led tribunal unanimously dismissed the petition. They hinged the reason on the withdrawal of the APC from the petition whilst the suit was ongoing.

The tribunal held that since the sponsoring Party, APC, had withdrawn their case, Cole had no foundation to pursue the petition.

Delivering judgement in Suit No: EPT/RV/GOV/10/2023, the tribunal unanimously dismissed the petition on grounds of non-jurisdiction and incompetence of the suit.

Aggrieved at the turn of events, Cole through his counsel, Jibrin Okutepa SAN approached the Appellate Court for redress.

In Suit No: CA/ABJ/EP/GOV/RV/121/2023, the Appellate Court upheld the decision of the tribunal on incompetence of the suit but differed by ruling that Cole had the locus to continue his case despite his Party withdrawing its petition.

Still dissatisfied, Cole approached the Apex Court seeking the disqualification of the 2nd respondent (Fubara) and in turn, urging the Court to declare him (the appellant) as duly elected.

The five-man panel headed by Justice KMO Kekere-Ekun JSC upheld the judgement of the lower Court and dismissed the Appeal for been unmeritorious.