Posted by News Express | 22 August 2015 | 2,742 times
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu on Friday upheld the election of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
The tribunal Chairman, Justice Hildad Kwajafa, in his judgment, held that the petition filed by Mr. Okey Ezea of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was incompetent and lacking in merit.
Kwajafa held that Ugwuanyi was duly returned by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Ezea had challenged the declaration of Ugwuayi as the winner of the April 11 governorship election in the state.
Kwajafa said that petitioners failed to prove their allegations of massive irregularities during the poll beyond reasonable doubts.
He said that the six witnesses from six polling units which the petitioners presented out of the 29 pleaded were not enough to prove allegations of malpractice beyond reasonable doubts.
The tribunal chairman pointed out that the state had 2,958 polling units, adding that presenting six witnesses to testify over what happened across the entire units is insufficient to help their case.
Kwajafa said that the petitioners did not sufficiently prove allegations of over voting and non-accreditation of voters with the card readers.
He held that the failure of the petitioners to tender the voters’ registers to identify the number of voters that participated in the election and allegations of over voting was did not also help their case.
“The voters’ register is the only document that can determine the number of voters that participated in an election and the petitioners could not tender it to prove their allegations.”
Kwajafa, therefore, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit and upheld the election of Ugwuanyi.
In his reaction, Ugwuanyi, who trekked round major streets of the state with his supporters, expressed happiness over the judgment, and dedicated his victory to God.
Ugwuanyi thanked residents of the state for queuing behind him, assuring them that his administration would continue to improve their living standard.
“All glory, honour, adoration go to the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob and the awesome God of David. This is a victory for residents of Enugu.”
Speaking in the same vein, the State Commissioner for Information, Dr. Godwin Udeuhele, appealed to opposition political parties to close ranks with the state government and support it to move the state forward.
He said that the decision of the tribunal had settled the fallout of the contest, adding that it was time for the citizens and residents to embrace peace for the benefit of the state.
“This victory was long awaited because the masses spoke and the judiciary has now confirmed it.
“The governor will now be at ease to continue to dish out dividends of democracy to residents of the state.
“I appeal to members of the opposition parties to close ranks with the governor and have the spirit of sportsmanship to move the state forward.”
The member representing Nkanu East Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Mr. Paul Nnajiofor, said that the judgment was in favour of the truth.
“There is hope in judiciary no matter how long it takes for the truth to surface. I am happy that the judgment came at the right time because it will lift every other burden the governor may be facing.”
Also reacting, Chairman of Ezeagu Local Government Area, Mr. Emeka Ozoagu, said that the victory was well-deserved as the people spoke with one voice during the poll.
Ozoagu said that the massive turn-out of people at the venue of the tribunal, attested to the general acceptability of the governor.
“It is one thing to canvass an issue and another to prove it in court. People came to see how the mandate given to the governor will be upturned by the tribunal.
“We thank God for what has happened today because this is the man we want.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Court of Appeal in Enugu had recently dismissed an appeal by the petitioners challenging an earlier decision of the tribunal to strike out certain paragraphs of their petition.
The tribunal had earlier in a ruling on a preliminary objection brought by the Counsel to Ugwuanyi, Mr. Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), struck out certain paragraphs it considered offensive in the petition. (NAN)
•Photo shows Gov. Ugwuanyi
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