Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 11 September 2015 | 4,007 times
The Anambra State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State yesterday adjourned indefinitely the judgment on the petition filed by Chief Victor Umeh of APGA challenging the election of Mrs Uche Ekwunife of the PDP for Anambra central senatorial district.
The tribunal Chairman, Justice Nayai Aganaba gave the ruling after the adoption of addresses by parties in the suit.
Adopting his address, counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), urged the tribunal to nullify the declaration of Ekwunife on grounds that she was not duly nominated by her party.
He argued that the PDP committee which conducted the party primary for nominating Ekwunife as the senatorial candidate of the party did not have the authority to do so.
In his words, “Ekwunife was nominated through an invalid process and was therefore not legitimately sponsored by the PDP.”
According to him, the total votes cast in the senatorial poll exceeded the total number of accredited voters hence; the tribunal should declare the votes null and void.
Also, adopting his address, counsel to INEC, Mr. Ikechukwu Ezechukwu (SAN), said that the infraction which the petitioners complained about was not sufficient enough to cancel the election.
Ezechukwu argued that in the 56 polling units complained about in the petition, the petitioner failed to prove that the election was rigged.
He noted that the issue of the nomination of Ekwunife was a pre-election matter.
In his submission, counsel to Ekwunife, Mr. Peter Eze, said that Ekwunife would maintain her victory from the varying result figures presented by the petitioners.
He pointed it out as the reason why the petitioners are basing their argument on infractions adding that the petitioners kept changing their figures and also brought an expert who on his part gave another set of figures when the expert was faulted.
“It is not for the tribunal to do the calculations, it must come from a witness as evidence.”
He further said that the petitioners failed to set out in their evidence scores to prove that Umeh won the election, saying that it was a clear case of a plaintiff abandoning his case.
Eze noted that the petitioner led evidence in 119 polling units, leaving out 42 polling units where his evidence lies and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition.
Similarly, counsel to the PDP, Mr. George Igbokwe, told the tribunal that the petitioners failed to treat their own expert witness as a hostile witness following the witness’s testimonies against the pleadings of the petitioners.
He pointed out that the petitioner’s case is that they won by majority of votes cast but that they failed to prove that but instead provided five conflicting results to the tribunal.
“They did not lead evidence that Ekwunife was not duly nominated by the PDP as the senatorial candidate of the party for Anambra Central.”
He however urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition.
•Photo shows Victor Umeh.
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