Tribunal Fixes Judgment In Umeh’s Petition Against Ekwunife | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Tribunal Fixes Judgment In Umeh’s Petition Against Ekwunife

Posted: Sep 10, 2015 at 4:48 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chukwujekwu Ilozue, Awka


The first National Assembly Election Petition tribunal sitting in Awka has reserved judgment for a date to be announced later in the petition filed by former national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, challenging the declaration of his opponent in the Anambra Central Senatorial election, Mrs. Uche Lilian Ekwunife, winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

All parties submitted their final written address to the tribunal and as expected prayed it to declare their clients winner of the election.

Chief Umeh’s counsel, Chief Patrick Ikwueto, SAN, told the tribunal headed by Justcie A. Aganaba that his client brought two main issues for consideration, namely: whether Ekwunife was qualified to contest the election having emerged from a fractious party primaries and that the tribunal should on its own calculate actual figures scored by each candidate in the election since INEC admitted that it declared Ekwunife winner of the election based on false figures.

Ikwueto argued that Ekwunife who is the 11th respondent in the case admitted under cross examination that she emerged candidate from a faction of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) other than the faction that which produced delegates to the congress that elected the party’s senatorial candidate.

“The question”, he argued, is: Since Ekwunife said that she did not emerge from Ejike Oguebego faction of PDP Who conducted the ward delegate election from where the delegates that elected Ekwunife in the primaries since there are two factions and she admitted that there was a special congress election which was different from the one conducted by Oguebego. If there was no proper delegate election that elected her, then her primary election was invalid ab initio”.

He cited a case where PDP in Kogi state conducted state primaries outside INEC timetable and the tribunal ruled that the primary was illegal.

He argued that qualification though an internal matter of the party must follow the rules.

The second issue he canvassed was that since the result as announced by INEC was false, the tribunal has the duty to itself collate the actual scores of the candidates in the election and come up with the actual figures in the election.

He persuaded the tribunal to follow the precedent in the case of Dr. Chris Ngige Vs Mr. Peter Obi where the tribunal removed the table prepared by both parties and went ahead to prepare its own table. He also cited the cases of Agbaje Vs Fashola and Aregbesola Vs Oyinlola.