The Justice Ambrosa Suleiman-led Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja was on Wednesday told by witnesses of Governor Nyesom Wike that the April 11 2015 governorship election in the state was free, fair and without violence.
Wike opened his defence after the Independent National Electoral Commission closed its case on Tuesday in the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, in which they are challenging Wike’s election as governor on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
At the resumed hearing in the petition, Wike, through his counsel, Mr. Okey Wali (SAN), led a total of eight witnesses in evidence.They corroborated the submissions of INEC that the Rivers State governorship election was peaceful, successful and devoid of any form of violence.
The witnesses, most of whom were retired civil servants, who voted during the election, told the three-member panel tribunal that the election materials arrived at their various polling units in good times, while card readers and voters register were used for accreditation of voters for the election.
The witnesses told the tribunal that the election, as conducted by INEC, was devoid of any form of violence, intimidation, adding that it was peaceful and with no diversion of ballot papers as alleged by the petitioners.
INEC, had, in its efforts to prove to the tribunal that it conducted a free and fair election in Rivers State, called a total of 16 witnesses and said it was satisfied with the weight of the evidence given by the witnesses before the tribunal.
Counsel for INEC, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), told the three-member panel that INEC did not intend calling more witnesses and as such, applied to close its case.His application to close INEC’s case was not opposed by counsel for the petitioners.