The Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has reserved judgment in the petition filed by the Governorship candidate of Accord Party, AP, Mr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs, against the election of Governor Siminalayi Fubara.
Justice Cletus Emifonye, while leading the three-member tribunal, gave the ruling after parties adopted their final written addresses.
Petitioners in the petition are Dumo Lulu-Briggs and his political party, Accord Party while the Governor of the state, Siminalayi Fubara, and nine others are respondents.
Briggs is challenging the declaration of Furara by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, where Mr. Fubara scored 302,614 votes to win the governorship election in Rivers.
The petitioners among others, have challenged the votes for not being a majority of lawful votes and that the conduct of the election was in substantial non-compliance with the relevant laws.
Mr. Briggs through his lead counsel A J Owonikoko also argued that, the March 18th election was marred with substantial non-compliance with the relevant laws and unlawful votes credited to Fubara.
Briggs told the Tribunal that, the return of Mr. Furara was invalid citing section 130 of the Electoral Act, 2022, and non use form EC40 G2 which is a condition precedent for the return of winner in the governorship election.
According to counsel to Briggs Owonikoko, the completion of form EC40(G)2 was necessary for INEC as required by law.
Owonikoko urged the court to nullify the INEC declaration of the 1st respondent (Furara) for unlawful crediting of votes and substantial non-compliance with electoral laws.
Counsel to Governor Furara Mr. Emmanuel Ukaka (SAN) urged the court to discountenance the arguments of the petitioners for inability to substantially prove their claims of irregularities.
Also other respondents in their submission through their various counsels argued that most of the infractions complained by the petitioners were on manuals of the elections process but not infractions on the electoral acts.
They stressed that the petitioners failed to link the documents in court with any of their specific complaints of non-compliance.
They urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition for lack of merit.
Speaking to journalists after the court proceedings, the Governorship candidate of Accord Party, AP, Mr. Lulu-Briggs said, his pursuit of justice was to deepen democracy.
He expressed confidence of victory when should Incase the Tribunal orders for rerun.