Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has been declared the winner of the governorship election by the Supreme Court.
The apex court, in a unanimous verdict by a five-member panel headed by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, threw out the appeal of Mr. Tonye Cole, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress. Cole challenged the result of the election that took place on March 18, 2023.
The lead judgment, delivered by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, said that the Court of Appeal and the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal were right to uphold Fubara’s victory.
The Supreme Court said that Cole could not prove that the election violated the Electoral Act, 2022.
The court noted that the APC had earlier pulled out of the case against Governor Fubara at the tribunal stage. However, Cole continued to pursue the case on his own.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Governor Fubara of the Peoples Democratic Party got 302,614 votes, while Cole of the APC got 95,274 votes. Cole alleged that the election was marred by corruption and irregularities.
He also accused Fubara of not resigning properly from his former role as required by law before the election.
He said that Fubara still signed documents as the Accountant-General of Rivers State after becoming the PDP candidate.
Both the tribunal and the Court of Appeal dismissed Cole’s case for having no merit. The Court of Appeal also agreed with the tribunal that the APC had no locus standi to challenge Fubara’s victory.
The Supreme Court affirmed these rulings, confirming Governor Fubara’s victory. The court also struck out another appeal against Fubara by the candidate of the Allied People’s Movement, Innocent Kere, who withdrew his case.