Friday, 9 October 2015

Jubilation in Anambra As Ekwunife Wins Umeh, APGA at 2015 NASS Petition Tribunal

By Okechukwu Onuegbu
Awka reports that the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra state capital today, Friday, dismissed petition filled by the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh challenging the election of Senator Uche Ekwunife of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for Anambra Central Senatorial zone.

Justice Naiyi Aganaba led tribunal unanimously upheld the election of Senator Ekwunife and struck out all relief sought by the former National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh in the tribunal.

Delivering the judgment in Awka, Justice Aganaba held that the petitioners, Umeh and APGA failed woefully to establish their case which they hinged on alleged mutilations and incorrect figures of results upon which Senator Ekwunife was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The tribunal further struck out the relief sought by Chief Umeh, urging the court to declare him winner on the ground that he got highest number of lawful votes cast by nullifying the election that brought Senator Ekwunife to power.

Justice Aganaba further ruled that the petitioners failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt that some errors and mutilations found in some result sheets as spotted by the petitioners were enough to nullify the election.

The tribunal further averred that the petitioner was very inconsistent in his prayers which he said were at variance with the declaration of the result by INEC and struck out the petition on the ground that the petitioners could not arrive at a definitive figure with which to lay claims to the result of the election.

He said that in the face of the petitions raised by Umeh, there were no substantial evidence before the tribunal to nullify the election especially when both APGA who pulled 85, 998 and PDP, 93,860 votes through their witnesses held that elections were actually held across the zone.

The tribunal further struck out the petition as contained  in Chief Umeh’s petition that sought relief of the court to declare him winner of the 28 March National Assembly Election on the ground that Senator Ekwunife was not the authentic candidate of the PDP.

He held that the issue of who becomes the candidate of the political party is a domestic party affairs which does not lie within the jurisdiction of the tribunal and ruled that since the tribunal can not condescend to meddle with private party matters, that Senator Ekwunife was the candidate of PDP.

Reacting to the judgment, Senator Ekwunife described her victory at the tribunal as the affirmation of her mandate at the election, adding that the judgment has further vindicated her and restored the hope of the people of the zone.

Senator Ekwunife further described the outcome of the tribunal as the true reflection of the wishes of the masses and victory for democracy, adding that with the recent development, she will now concentrate on her representation to bring development to the people of the zone.



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