Court reserves judgment on petitions challenging Ebonyi Governor’s election

Court reserves judgment on petitions challenging Ebonyi Governor’s election


 

 

 

The Abuja-based Ebonyi State Governorate Election Court on Friday reserved judgment on two petitions seeking to improve Governor Francisco NwifuruThe victory of in the last elections in the state.

Nwifuru was elected governor of Ebonyi State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in March.

However, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the Grand Alliance of All Progressives (APGA), in their separate petitions, urged the three-member panel of the tribunal, headed by Lekan Ogunmoye, to annul Mr. Nwifuru due to his non-qualification for the position. choice.


final arguments


In proceedings on Friday, PDP gubernatorial candidate Chukwuma Ifeanyi, through his lawyer, Chris Uche, argued that the APC failed to properly nominate Mr Nwifuru to fly its flag at the polls.

Referring to the Evidence Act, Chief Advocate Nigeria (SAN) Mr Uche told the court that the “membership record (Enwanweigwe Ward) for the “APC” did not come from proper custody as it should be certificate if it came from “INEC” as required by law.”

It further held that the alleged Ebonyi State Local Government Areas Voting Unit survey results statements “were not submitted by Voting Unit officers and did not meet the condition of Section 137 of the Electoral Law of 2022”.

“The above documents are therefore manifestly inadmissible and, having been improperly admitted, must be deleted…”


Mr. Uche pleaded with the court to uphold his client’s petition and declare Mr. Ifeanyi the duly elected Governor of Ebonyi State.

In the second case challenging the governor’s victory, APGA gubernatorial candidate Benard Odoh, a professor, urged the court to annul the Ebonyi governor’s election for lack of qualification.


Odoh’s lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa, a SAN, argued that Nwifuru, “who was up until and after the election, a member of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly and also held the office of Speaker of the house under the platform of Democratic Peoples (PDP) was not qualified to contest the election for the Ebonyi State governorship held by the “election commission”.


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But Nwifuru’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu, a SAN, prayed to the court to dismiss the claims as lacking merit.

Mr. Ikpeazu argued that Mr. Nwifuru, while serving as Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, resigned from his PDP membership and joined the APC before running for the gubernatorial primary of this state. last.


He also submitted the APC membership register containing Mr Nwifuru’s details for Enwanweigwe Ward, the Governor’s country house.


After hearing closing arguments from the lawyers, the presiding judge, Mr. Ogunmoye, said a trial date would be communicated to the parties in the trials.


Background


The electoral referee declared Mr. Nwifuru the winner of the state election, prompting a couple of lawsuits to nullify the vote.


Nwifuru polled a total of 199,131 votes in the state’s 13 local councils to beat out his closest rival, the PDP’s Ifeanyi, who polled 80,191 votes.


In addition to Mr. Nwifuru’s alleged lack of qualification, Mr. Ifeanyi and the PDP, in their joint complaint, argued that Mr. Nwifuru failed to obtain a majority of the legal votes during the contest.


The petitioners maintained that INEC violated the Electoral Law in conducting the election.

But INEC’s lawyer, Oladipo Tolani, disagreed with the petitioners, arguing that the electoral referee complied with the law when conducting the polls.

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