Appeal Court Sacks Senator Sekibo As Abe Retains Seat

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BY ALIJO SYLVESTER, ABUJA – The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday dismissed the appeal brought before it by Senator George Thompson Sekibo, challenging the decision of the Rivers State National and State Election Petition Tribunal which sat in Abuja and nullified his election to the Senate.

The Election Tribunal had in June 2017 declared Mr. Andrew Uchendu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the duly elected senator for the Rivers East senatorial district.

Delivering judgment in the appeal, Justice Adamu Jauro, who read the judgment held that the petition filed by Senator Sekibo lacked merit and substance and consequently dismissed it.

But in different ruling delivered by Justice Habeeb Adewale Abiru, the Appellate Court upheld the election of Senator Magnus Abe of Rivers South East.

The appeal brought against Senator Abe by Mr. Oloka Johnson Nwogu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was dismissed as being baseless and lacking in merit.

Justice Abiru said the issues raised by Nwogu in his petition against Abe’s election were criminal in nature but were not proved beyond reasonable doubt as required by law at the tribunal.

Similarly, in the ruling in Sekibo’s appeal, the court held that the tribunal was correct in the removal of Sekibo from the Senate on the grounds that the provisions of the Electoral Act and guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were violated in the conduct of the election.

The Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal had in a judgment delivered last June ordered the removal of Sekibo as the Senator representing the people of Rivers East senatorial district in the National Assembly.

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