Court Drops LP From Petition Against Umahi’s Victory | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Court Drops LP From Petition Against Umahi’s Victory

Posted: Jul 9, 2015 at 7:25 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on Thursday dismissed a motion filed by the governorship candidate of Labour Party (LP), Edward Nkwegu, seeking more witnesses in addition to the six earlier submitted to the panel by the petitioner.

In the first ruling delivered by the chairman of the tribunal, Theresa Alabi, the tribunal held that it was unconstitutional for Nkwegu to bring in 46 additional witnesses from across the 13 local government areas of the state, aside from the six witnesses stated in his petition.

In a second ruling, the presiding judge, Justice E. Oresajiafor, ruled that the first petitioner did not have the consent or authority of the LP to institute the petition.

He cited section 133 (1 & 137) of the Electoral Act, 2010, that the interested parties that participated in the last governorship election, which the first respondent, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), won whereas Nkwegu did not deny that he participated in the election.

Oresajiafor struck out the name of the LP from the petition instituted by Nkwegu, stressing that the party was not interested in the petition challenging the victory of Dave Umahi of the PDP.

In his reaction, national legal adviser of the LP, Akingbade Oyilaka, lauded the tribunal for the ruling and for removing the name of the party from the petition.  “I appreciate the tribunal for doing justice to this matter; the party, which was not interested in the matter from the beginning, was dragged into it and, I tell you, the integrity of the party must be maintained at all cost,” he said.

Similarly, counsel to the PDP, James Igwe (SAN), said, “The applicant filed a motion seeking to amend his evidence to bring additional 46 witnesses from across the state but we said no to it because it is a trick to bring in new evidence at this time and it is unconstitutional.

“The tribunal ruled that the applicant cannot at this time bring additional witnesses and that they are bound to proceed with the earlier six witnesses.”