There is palpable tension in the camp of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, ahead of the delivery of judgment today in the state’s governorship election filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
The Rivers State Elections Tribunal is led by Justice Mohammed Ambrosa and has been sitting in Abuja. The exchange of addresses by counsel to the petitioners—Peterside and the APC—as well as the respondents—Wike, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)—took place on Thursday, with the tribunal adjourning indefinitely for judgment.
Information, however, filtered out in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital yesterday afternoon that the tribunal would deliver judgment in the case at 10 a.m. today. Some international observers and other stakeholders who monitored the April 11 governorship election in Rivers State, as well as eminent personalities who testified before the tribunal had described the poll as a sham, saying that it was characterised by violence, massive rigging, intimidation of voters and snatching of ballot boxes.
Wike, a former Minister of State for Education, and the Rivers State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Felix Obuah, however, maintained that the election was free, fair, credible, peaceful and violence-free, describing the turnout of the electorate as impressive, massive and unprecedented.
The Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Rivers State, Samuel Nwanosike, said yesterday that he and other members of the PDP in the state were awaiting the tribunal’s judgment, stressing that the lawyers to the Rivers governor, PDP and INEC had done a good job.
Asked what Wike and other members of the PDP in Rivers State would do if the judgment went in favour of the governorship candidate of the APC, he said that it would be subjudice to comment on a matter before a court or tribunal.
On his part, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Rivers State, Chris Finebone, said he had no comment.”