Thursday, 20 August 2015

Anambra Central Senatorial Seat> Uche Ekwunife, Ume Battle Ends 10th September

The Senator representing Anambra[post_ad] Central at the National Assembly, Senator Uche Ekwunife has opened her defence at the National Assembly Petition Tribunal in Awka, insisting that she won the election. 

Chief Victor Umeh of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), had dragged Ekunife to the Election Petition Tribunal, challenging her declaration as the winner of the senatorial election and demanded that he be declared the winner of the election.

As a result, Sen. Ekwunife tendered forms EC8A1, being polling unit results in about 67 polling units.

Umeh had tendered forms EC8A1 of about 116 polling units mostly in Idemili North local council which he said had infractions and mutilations, praying that all those EC8A1forms that suffered such infractions be cancelled and result collated in only those polling units where election was without blemish.

Ekwunife, while echoing the voice of the Electoral Officer of Idemili North local government during the election, Mr. Christian Nzogbu who also represented the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the tribunal said that the mutilations and cancellations on election results were insignificant and that she will not like to have any figure deducted from her scores in the election.

Led in evidence by his counsel, Peter Eze, Ekwunife also tendered polling unit results from three local governments of Anambra state : Anaocha, Awka North and Njikoka  where she said the results were also mutilated in favour of Chief Umeh.

Under cross examination by counsel to Umeh, Chief Patrick Ikwueto, (SAN), who presented her with a report of Peoples  Democratic Party (PDP) Primary election  showing  Senator Annie Okonkwo as winner of the primary to fly PDP flag in the Senatorial election, Ekwunife said she was the rightful candidate to represent the party in the election because the makers of the document were factional chairman and secretary of PDP as at that time, Chief Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye who produced Senator Okonkwo the same day the National Working Committee and National Executive Committee of the party produced her.

Earlier, Mr. Nzogbu admitted that the initial result which INEC declared awarding Ekwunife 101,548 and Umeh 77, 129 was erroneous which was why INEC reversed itself and recalculated to arrive at 93,860 for Ekwunife and 85,898 for Umeh after Umeh filed a petition against the result declared.

Asked under cross-examination whether he does not think that the difference between 24,419 votes and 7,962 votes INEC later declared was significant, Nzogbu said no.

He also said that cancellations and mutilations on the forms EC8A1 were minor and will not lead to cancellation of the result.

He however,  admitted that accreditation on election day was done once but asked if it does not follow that the number of accredited voters should match the  number of votes cast and number of voters that cast that vote in each polling unit, he said no.
Nzogbu also said there was no report of anomalies during the election and that the election was peaceful.

However, the petitioner, Umeh of APGA has been given seven days to address the court, while the respondents, Ekwunife is to address same court in ten days time, but adoption of the report will be on 10 September, 2015.



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