The Court of Appeal in Abuja has sacked George Sekibo as Rivers East Senator, upholding an earlier ruling of the Rivers National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal.
The three-member appeal panel led by Adamu Jauro delivered its judgement on Thursday.
Consequently, the appellate court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to withdraw the certificate of return from Mr. Sekibo and give same to Andrew Uchendu of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Mr. Sekibo contested the December 2016 Rivers legislative rerun polls as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He was then announced as the winner by INEC, after a confrontation that almost resulted in bloodshed at the Port Harcourt City Hall.
In June, the tribunal nullified Mr. Sekibo’s election, saying that Mr. Uchendu earned the majority of lawful votes cast and that there was substantial non-compliance with the electoral law in the process of the poll.
But Mr. Sekibo approached the appeal court, expressing dissatisfaction with the tribunal’s ruling.
However, on Wednesday, the appeal court upheld the ruling of the tribunal, thereby halting Mr. Sekibo’s Senate career which started in 2007.
Rivers APC chieftain and NIMASA boss, Peterside Dakuku has hailed the ruling.
As the suit arose from an election and is not a pre-election matter, the decision of the Appeal Court if final. With the development, APC will now have 67 members and PDP 41 in the Senate. One seat, Anambra Central, has been vacant since the removal of Uche Ekwunife by the court last year.
INEC had in December declared 93,098 votes for Senator Sekibo to defeat Mr. Uchendu, who the commission had said scored 34,193 votes.
But the tribunal found that Mr. Uchendu had actually defeated Mr. Sekibo by scoring 126, 160 against the PDP candidate who scored 84,000 votes.
The tribunal said results on Form EC8A in Ikwerre and Emuoha Local Government Areas and Ward 6 of Okrika LGA and parts of Obio/Akpor LGA were ignored by INEC.
Senator Sekibo, 60, had served two terms in the Senate. He was first elected in 2007 after serving a term in the House of Representatives between 2003 to 2007.