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APPEAL COURT VERDICTS IN RIVERS ELECTION MATTERS BY KENNEDY FRIDAY


Ladies and gentlemen, people of God, I write the following in love, real love.

There is a growing WRONG  "under siege mentality" that is ravaging members of Rivers PDP and their sympathizers in other states of Nigeria concerning the judgements coming from the Court of Appeal in  Rivers election matters.


Our brothers and sisters in the other party have already unwisely allowed themselves to be mischievously convinced that there is a gang-up  at the highest level somewhere against Rivers PDP and that is why candidates of their party whose "mandates" were subject of litigations are being pummeled by the Court of Appeal. In fact, somehow, they crazily believe that President Muhammadu BUHARI and the top echelon of the APC in Nigeria are actively influencing court verdicts against them. I wish to state, with all amount of responsibility and with the clarity of thought I can immediately muster that such mentality is flimsy, shortsighted, naive, disgusting,  bizarre and utterly foolish( please pardon my diction).

I was at the election tribunals every single day and kept tabs on all the cases--from Governorship to National Assembly to House of Assembly. I was constantly shuttling between the  High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Apo, and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Jabi, all in Abuja, venues of the tribunal sittings in all election cases that came from Rivers State. I also carried out some special services for 80 percent of the litigating APC candidates in document sourcing from the National Library, Abuja.

I read the facts of the cases and attended tribunal sittings. I saw documentary evidences and heard witnesses of both parties testify. I heard testimonies of subpoenaed witnesses reduced into sworn depositions and experienced first hand piercing cross-examinations that happened in the courts.

I saw dozens upon dozens of witnesses of the PDP who momentarily became blind as soon as they were ushered into the witness boxes. I saw the annoying recalcitrance of PDP witnesses who were tutored by their counsels to refuse to answer questions that were germane to their testimonies under cross-examination.

I saw witnesses who were caught telling lies. Who said they voted at unit A of Ward B when their PVCs indicated they were registered voters at unit G of Ward H. I saw INEC and PDP witnesses run away when those who testified before them recounted their unsavory experiences under cross examination.

I saw INEC documents in tatters. I saw thousands of INEC documents in which votes were allocated to PDP candidates more than the registered voters in the areas under consideration. I saw thousands of  INEC documents in which only one PDP goon signed as Presiding Officers in more than 100 units. And so it was everywhere in Rivers State. I saw INEC documents in which one PDP agent signed as agent of 20 political parties. I saw mutilations of INEC documents. I saw that in thousands of polling units across Rivers State where INEC claimed it conducted elections, it couldn't show any document that indicated that it delivered Voters Registers, Ballot Papers, incident forms to thousands upon thousands of polling units

I saw INEC as first respondent in the cases abandon its defense when things were getting out of hand. After signaling and making witness depositions in the front-loaded  witness statements, I saw INEC abandon its cases and fail to call witnesses.

One day in the middle of proceedings in the tribunal, I prevailed on one of my friends in the PDP who is a lawyer, and who has been doubting the reports I have been filing from the tribunal to attend the tribunal. He came out and shook his head and exclaimed: "Mehn, this is bad" at what he saw with his eyes and heard with his ears.

The truth is that PDP in Rivers State carried out the most primitive rigging in the 2015 elections. People just sat in hotels and allocated results without even bothering to check what was the number of total registered voters in each unit, Ward and LGAs. More than 80 percent of results they allocated to their candidates in 80 percent of polling units in Rivers State were more than the registered voters and more than the contrived accredited voters.

One of the things I hear people say is  that the burden of prove rests on the person who asserts. And so if Rivers APC claimed there  was no election, they ought to prove beyond reasonable doubt that election didn't happen. The truth is that  prove in an election matter is on the preponderance of evidence, and APC candidates did prove that election didn't happen. But one thing those people should understand is that once a party in an election matter asserts in the negative that something didn't happen, the burden of prove shifts from that party to the other. So INEC being the first respondent had the burden of prove to discharge that it conducted election in accordance with the Electoral Act, but it failed to do so.

There is nobody who was present at the tribunal, whether a PDP sympathizer or an APC sympathizer, whether a lawyer or not a lawyer who was not shocked at the kind of verdicts the tribunals reached, particularly in the National Assembly cases. The verdicts were simply incomprehensible! The verdicts simply didn't factor in the evidence before the tribunal.

Only a book, which a friend has suggested we should do, can only tell the story of the whole shameful drama that I saw in court.

So there was no doubt that the Court of Appeal would look upon such verdicts with so much anger. In fact, Justices of the Court of Appeal almost lambasted the trial court for the kind of verdicts they reached.

It's easy to build conspiracy theories from the comfort of  your houses behind your laptop and phone keyboards, but if you were ever in court and saw all the drama, you would not escape the righteous indignation you would have against Rivers PDP for the kind of primitive, foolish rigging the party carried out during the 2015 elections in Rivers State.

There is no conspiracy anywhere. Nobody is interested in any gang-up against Rivers PDP. The party is just reaping the fruits of its hideous electoral abracadabra, impunity and shenanigans.

So people, emancipate yourself from that hallucinating siege mentality and know that as long as the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest time shall not cease!

Here is this picture, yours sincerely was having an interesting discussion with my mentor, the GREAT Femi Falana SAN, just outside the court premises!

Kennedy Friday.