Why I Went To Election Tribunal – Umeh | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Why I Went To Election Tribunal – Umeh

Posted: Jul 31, 2015 at 1:57 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chukwujekwu Ilozue, Awka

The former national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the party’s candidate in the March 28, 2015 Senatorial election in Anambra Central district, Chief Victor Umeh, who closed his evidence-in-chief before the first Anambra National Assembly Election Petition tribunal sitting in Awka on Friday, July 31, 2015, said that he filed the petition to “end electoral impunity and brigandage that have characterised elections in Anambra  for a long time”.

Lea in evidence by his counsel, Chief Patrick Ikwueto, SAN, as Principal witness 005 in the petition he and APGA filed against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Anambra State, the seven Collation Officers and Returning Officers in the seven local councils that make up the Central Senatorial district, Uche Ekwunife, who was declared winner of the election and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Umeh tendered hundreds of Polling Unit results in Forms EC8A1 that cut across the senatorial district which he said had different defects that made them ineligible to be used to declare results of the election.

The defects ranged from ballot papers exceeding accredited voters which were witnessed in 25 polling units; polling units where ballot papers used are not fully accounted for; forms EC8A1 with mutilations and alterations without counter-signing and results recorded in polling booths that differ from what is recorded on the ward level collation forms EC8B1 as well as distribution forms EC8A1vp which were illegally and improperly deployed for the election among others.

Under cross examination by counsel to Ekwunife, Mr. Peter Eze, Umeh said that he was complaining about 119 polling units although Eze said that only 113 could be found in the first schedule of his petition and that of the 156 polling units Umeh complained against, no less than 35 were not listed in schedule A.

Asked if he was surprised that some of the witnesses he called awarded victory to his opponent, Umeh responded that that was so because the numerous unlawful votes were yet to be deducted from the election results declared by INEC.

Asked which of the three figures given by INEC, Returning Officer and an IT expert that he brought as witness, Umeh said that it was for the tribunal to determine genuine votes and award him victory based on that, moreso when the figures given by INEC kept changing.

After the tribunal session, Umeh told reporters that he filed his petition because he wants to “save Anambra from impunity of fraudulent election which has been unleashed by PDP over the years.

“There is no person in this state who did not witness the brigandage and use of armed men to annihilate the electorate and hijack the electoral collation process to declare result which can no longer stand as one”.

He said that if INEC had done its duty efficiently, it would not have declared three different figures at different times namely: 101,548 for PDP and 77,129 votes for APGA; 93,860 for PDP and 85, 898 for APGA and 80,979 for PDP and 80, 575 for APGA respectively, a difference of 404 votes.

He added: “An election which result goes up and down that way shows there were massive irregularities and infractions.

“It is the court that will decide in the end but if you remove the unlawful votes from the polling units I complained against, I will have the highest number of lawful votes cast in the election’, Umeh concluded.

The matter was adjourned to August 17 for continued hearing.