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IMO: Tribunal Sacks NC Lawmaker, Orders Re-run

The State House of Assem­bly election petition tribu­nal sitting in Owerri has nulli­fied the election of the member representing Owerri West State Constituency, Mr. Victor Onyewuchi.

Onyewuchi of the All Pro­gressives Congress,APC, was dragged before the tribunal by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 governorship/assembly elections, Mr. Chidi Ihemedu.

Ihemedu challenged the elec­tion on the grounds of electoral malpractices and non compli­ance with the electoral laws in the conduct of the election in eleven polling units of four elec­toral wards.

The PDP candidate, in his petition, prayed the tribunal to invalidate the results of the af­fected units and order for fresh election.

Delivering judgment, the tribunal noted that the onus of proof lies with the petitioner, which he did with submissions of relevant evidence.

The tribunal, however, stated that the first respondent failed to efficiently counter the allega­tions in his response.

The tribunal explained that testimonies of witnesses pre­sented by the respondents’ counsel were contradictory and unreliable.

The tribunal, therefore, or­dered INEC to conduct fresh elections in eleven polling units across the constituency within 90 days from Tuesday, October 06, 2015.

Speaking with journalists, Ihemedu expressed happiness that the judiciary was still alive to its duties as the last hope of the common man.

He stated that the judgment was another chance “given to us by God to right the wrongs of the past election because we saw a situation where there was hooliganism, outright bestiality right there at the local govern­ment headquarters”.

However, speaking through his personal assistant, Dr. Col­lins Anah, Onyewuchi said the decision of the tribunal was sur­prising because “the PDP was claiming that election did not hold in the affected wards and units and during the process we were able to prove that elections actually held in all the affected polling booths. We also brought results from the booths. But we are surprised that the tribunal ruled and cancelled the election despite the evidences before it”.

Onyewuchi indicated his in­terest to approach the Court of Appeal.


– Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri

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