The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Tuesday sacked the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Ipalibo George as the lawmaker representing Asari-Toru Constituency 1.
The tribunal also declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Tekenari Wellington as the winner of the March 9, 2019 Rivers State House of Assembly election and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a Certificate of Return to him immediately.
Wellington had approached the tribunal seeking it to nullify George’s emergence as the lawmaker representing Asari-Toru Constituency 1 at the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Delivering the judgment on behalf of the panel, Justice J. O. Bangboshe stated that George has been able to prove before the Tribunal that he lawfully polled the greater number of votes than the SDP candidate, who was initially declared the winner of the election by INEC.
The tribunal added that the petitioner also proved that most of the result sheets presented by the SDP candidate and the Police as evidence were neither signed nor contained INEC stamps and dates.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the judgment, counsel for Wellington, Dike Udenna said the tribunal gave its judgement based on the evidences brought before it.
His words: “Judgment had just been delivered in favour of the petitioner, candidate of the PDP, Tekenari Wellington as the rightful candidate that polled a majority of the lawful votes.
“The court has accordingly declared that INEC issue him a Certificate of Return and be sworn in immediately, after considering all the evidences adduced by the parties.
“The tribunal came to the conclusion that some of result sheets being relied upon by the 2nd respondent (INEC) were not authentic and did not have signatures, INEC stamps, dates or names of those who purported to be presiding officers in the election.”