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Anambra election tribunal adjourns, to deliver judgment

The Justice Ishaq Bello-led Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Awka has adjourned judgments in the three petitions filed before it for determination sine die (indefinitely).

The decision followed the adoption of final addresses by parties in the petitions on Friday.

The petitions are those filed by Senator Chris Ngige against Independent National Electoral Commission, Governor Willie Obiano and the All Progressives Grand Alliance and that filed by Mr Tony Nwoye against INEC, Obiano and APGA.

The third petition was filed by the Peoples Democratic Party against INEC, Obiano and APGA.

The petitioners, among other things, sought the disqualification of Obiano on the grounds of alleged multiple registration.

They also sought the nullification of the November 16, 17 and 30 election on the grounds of alleged electoral malpractices.

In the petition filed by Ngige, his counsel, Chief Olarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), argued that the voters’ register that was displayed by INEC was not the same that was used for the conduct of the poll.

He described the governorship election as a “sham” and “travesty of justice”, adding that the defence of APGA failed on surface value.

Akeredolu said APGA failed to call any witness or tender any document in defence of the allegations against it.

“Section 139 of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended is not an open cheque to conduct a non-election. We have shown in our address how it affected the election.

“All INEC members of staff involved in the poll did not swear to an oath of neutrality and this non-compliance also affected the entire process,” Mr. Emeka Ngige (SAN), another counsel for Ngige said.

However, counsel for INEC, APGA and Obiano urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.

Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), counsel for Obiano, argued that the petitioner failed to prove the allegation of forged voter’s card presented by Obiano.

According to him, every other document tendered on the alleged double or multiple registration is completely immaterial.

Counsel for APGA, Mr Patrick Ikweto (SAN), said, “The allegation of invalid voters’ register was non-substantial to the petition.

In the petition filed by Nwoye, counsel for INEC, Mr Hassan Liman (SAN), argued that the allegation of multiple registration could not be taken as a ground for disqualification of Obiano.

Ikpeazu added that the petitioner had offered nothing to allow their prayers to succeed, while Ikweto contended that the petitioner did not prove his case based on issues relating to Section 139 of the Electoral Act, 2010.

However, counsel for Nwoye, Mr A.O. Ajana, maintained that there was no display of voter register used in the election.

“The publication of a voter register two days to the election without display was a copious non-compliance with the law. There is clear breach of the Electoral Act, and that breach is sufficient non-compliance,” he said.

In the petition filed by PDP, Liman said INEC tendered all results relating to the election before the court.

“There was no evidence to prove that the election conducted in Obosi, Idemili North Local Council on November 17 was not included in the final result,” he said.

However, counsel for PDP, Mr Emmanuel Okala (SAN), said INEC did not lay a valid foundation for the conduct of the poll as many voters were disenfranchised.

“If the disenfranchised 173,832 voters were allowed to vote, it would have made a big difference in the poll,” he said.

While adjourning the judgment, Bello commended the lawyers for their conduct during the trial.

AmarSim Associations Development Consultants

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