Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Twist in Anambra LG Election Tribunal: Court re-instates sacked Ogbaru LG Chairman

Okechukwu Onuegbu

Anambra State Local Government Election Appeal Tribunal, Onitsha zone has reinstated the chairman of Ogbaru Local Government, Chief Victor Agolue whose victory at the local government election was upturned by a lower tribunal about two months ago.

Chief Agolue who contested election under the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on January this year was dragged to court by the PDP flag bearer, Chief Zeribe Ezeanuna.

The lower tribunal presided over by Mr. Obi Anizoba had earlier upturned the victory of the APGA candidate calling for fresh elections as it held that no election was held in many places under the local government and the inability of ANSIEC to file necessary papers within the stipulated time frame as dictated by law.

Following that judgment by the lower tribunal, the APGA candidate, however, appealed the judgment challenging his sack, adding that he was denied fair hearing in his matter.

Delivering his judgment,  the chairman of the Tribunal, Mr. Justice Vincent Agbata held that petitioner, Chief Agolue was denied fair hearing based on the inability of the lower tribunal to admit affidavit provided by ANSIEC and thereby upturned the judgment of the lower court in favour of the petitioner, Chief Agolue.

Reacting to the judgment, the petitioner and chairman of Ogbaru Local Government Area, Chief Victor Agolue thanked the Appeal tribunal for upholding the rule of law which he said was denied him at the lower tribunal.

He said that following the judgment he would now concentrate on delivering democratic dividends to the people of the area.

In his reaction, the defendant, Chief Zeribe Ezeanuna who described the judgment as a travesty of justice urged his supporters to remain calm and expressed fear for the nation’s judiciary.

He lamented that the judgment did not reflect on the submissions made by his counsel who implied that there were election irregularities in almost all the polling units under the local government, adding that hence there was no other alternative, but to appeal to God.

He emphasised that he had frequently been denied the opportunity for justice since returning from the United States to join politics in Nigeria and vowed to continue to pursue goals that would enhance positive changes in the nation’s judiciary.

In his words: “I’m shocked at today’s judgment. I’m afraid of the nation’s judiciary. Since I came back from the United States to join politics, I’ve continued to contest election first as a House of Representatives member and twice my mandate was stolen until the recent one.

I will not relent in pursuing goals for the enthronement of a better society through the law courts nor despair in my present travail. For this judgment which its appeal has ended I’ll rather choose to appeal to God as the last resort. “This is not the end of the road,” he lamented.



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