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George Sekibo PDP Senator loses appeal against sack order

The senator's appeal lacked merit, and failed to show sufficient facts to overturn the tribunal's judgement.

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Senator George Sekibo play

Senator George Sekibo

(The Cable)

The representative of Rivers East senatorial district, Senator George Sekibo, has lost his appeal against a Rivers state election tribunal judgement that sacked him in June.

Sekibo was dismissed by the state's three-man election petition tribunal in Abuja on Thursday, June 29, 2017.

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) decided to fight the judgement in the Court of Appeal, but will be disappointed by the ruling that was handed down on Thursday, August 24.

ALSO READ: Rivers tribunal sacks PDP's Senator George Sekibo

The court ruled that the appeal lacked merit, and failed to show sufficient facts to overturn the tribunal's judgement.

The court pointed out that the lawmaker only reproduced his closing remarks at the end of the tribunal hearing, and did not challenge the judgement itself, which meant the appeal court had no business considering it.

In the June ruling, the tribunal also ruled that Sekibo's opponent, Chief Andrew Uchendu, was the true winner of the senatorial seat,  and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him a certificate of return.

Chief Uchendu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had contested INEC's decision to award the December 10, 2016 victory to Sekibo after neglecting to recognise the results of some wards and polling units in the districts.

Sekibo was declared the winner by INEC returning officer, Oji Ekumankama on Monday, December 12.

According to Ekumankama, Sekibo won 93,098 votes  to defeat Chief Uchendu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who had 34,193 votes.

ALSO READ: PDP's George Sekibo wins Rivers East senatorial seat

However, the panel, sitting at Apo Quarters in the Federal Capital Territory, agreed with Uchendu, saying he won the lawful majority vote cast and instructed INEC to withdraw the certificate of return that had been issued to Sekibo.

The 60-year-old Sekibo was first elected to the Senate in 2007, and also won his first reelection.

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