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Tribunal Upholds Ugwuanyi’s Election

Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Enugu has upheld the election of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in the April 11, 2015 governorship election. This came barely 24 hours after the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, threw out same suits filled before it against Ugwuanyi by the APC. Similarly, the tribunal struck out the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Okey Ezea on the grounds that it was frivolous, lacked merit and against court processes.

This was followed by a cost of N150,000 to each of the respondents in the petition. As soon as the news of the tribunal’s decision got to the anxious supporters of Gov. Ugwuanyi, the entire court premises went into jubilation, as they started singing victory songs in praise of the governor. Ugwuanyi on receipt of the news of the judgment drove round the major streets of Enugu in company of the local government chairmen to thank the people of the state for their support and prayers.

Delivering the judgment which lasted for over three hours, chairman of the tribunal, Justice Kwajafa Hildad among other findings by the tribunal held that it had earlier in the course of the hearing struck out several paragraphs of Ezea’s petition for being imprecise, vague, related to party nomination which is a preelection matter and contained criminal allegation against people who were not made parties to the petition.

He added that the petitioners’ allegation on over-voting and non accreditation through the manipulation of the Card Readers Machine by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other respondents were not sufficiently proved as it is only voters’ register that could determine the number of voters that participated in an election, stating that the petitioner failed to provide the voters’ registers to prove his case.

The tribunal also noted that the petitioners’ witnesses which were only 6 persons drawn from 6 polling units out of the 2,958 polling units in the state were not sufficient to provide enough evidence to support his case, rendering it incompetent. It further held that even at that, the six witnesses admitted that the governorship election was free, fair and peaceful with minor irregularities which were not sufficient enough to cancel the election.

It stated that the petitioners also failed to prove their allegation of falsification of result figures, maintaining that mere assertion that the figures were falsified was not enough evidence to allow them their prayers. It therefore, dismissed the petition and upheld the election of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as valid. Reacting on the judgment, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described it as a reflection of the wishes of the majority of the people of Enugu State.

The Party’s State Publicity Secretary, Dr. Okey Eze said that the judgment has proved to the world that Enugu is a PDP State and the governor was freely elected by the people. He added that the party is not expecting that the APC governorship candidate will go on appeal as the tribunal has proved that his case has no locus standi. He stated that this development will now enable the governor and the PDP to concentrate more in the governance of the state for the people to enjoy the dividends of democracy.


-Amah Baldwin, Enugu

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