A bribe scandal investigated by the Department of State Security (DSS), involving Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers state, has led to the dismissal of Justice Mu’azu Pindiga, chairman of the Rivers state governorship election tribunal.
Reports by Sahara Reporters has states that Governor Nyesom Wike, the major defendant in an electoral case, gave judge Pindiga a bribe of N200 million before the tribunal.
According to sources from the DSS, the evidence was brought before Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the President of the Court of Appeal, and on that ground the chairman was removed and subsequently replaced by Justice Mohammed Ambrosa.
The firing of the tribunal chairman, seemed to be a welcomed development by many, as some learned gentlemen in reaction to the new turn of events, approved of it.
Some lawyers who spoke to pressmen were of the view that Justice Pindiga is not only corrupt, but has not demonstrated any knowledge of electoral matters.
They claim that there are quite a number of Lawyers who have appeared before him and have found him not up to scale, as regards issues pertaining to the electoral laws of the country.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike through his lawyers tried to revoke the action against Pindiga, however his protest was without substance and did not really hold water especially in the light of the bribe to which there were evidences.
According to Sahara reporters, Wike made at least two attempts to see the Chief Justice of Nigeria, as to influence the outcome of the tribunal, but the meeting was declined, speculation have it that the fear of President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance on corruption was part of the inhibiting factors for that meeting.
The alleged N200 million given to the fired tribunal chairman, was facilitated by Wike’s lawyers.
In some related development, more details have emerged from the the April 11 governorship election in Rivers state. There were testimonies that thugs and cultists were widely used by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to wreck havoc on people who came to vote.
Godwin Mba, spokesman for the SSS, testified in the Rivers State Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja that ” PDP was engaged in unlawful activities working closely with criminals and known cultists in Adoni local government area from the very beginning of the election till the result announcement, trying to incite violence.”
There have also been testimonies by INEC officials, claiming that the elections were marred by violence. They further report that elections did not hold in major areas of the state.