Tribunal upholds Obiano’s election

The Anambra State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Awka on Wednesday upheld Gov. Willie Obiano’s election and dismissed four petitions filed against him by other candidates.

The tribunal Chairman, Justice Ishaq Bello, held that the petitions of Chike Obidigbo, belonging to a faction of APGA; Chris Ngige of APC, Tony Nwoye of PDP and the PDP lacked merit.

Bello, in four separate judgments, held that Obiano’s election complied substantially with the Electoral Act 2010 and the 1999 Constitution.

He held that Obidigbo lacked the locus standi under Section 137 of the Electoral Act to file the petition because it dwelt on an intra-party matter.

“It is highly illogical, inconceivable and injurious for APGA which won an election to petition itself at the tribunal.

“The failure of the petitioner to produce forms CF001 and CF002 cast a huge doubt on his claim of nomination as candidate in the election,” he held.

The judge further discountenanced the allegation of multiple registration against Obiano for lack of evidence by the petitioner.

On Ngige’s petition, he held that the petitioner’s witnesses failed to produce the voters’ register to explain or demonstrate how they were disenfranchised in the election.

“The petitioner failed to prove that the failure of all INEC staff to swear an oath of neutrality substantially affected the validity of the poll.

“In our view, the case of multiple registration is baseless; the submission that Obiano’s voter’s card is a forged document is misconceived.

“We are, therefore, unable to hold that Obiano was not qualified to contest the said election,” the tribunal held.

The judge said only INEC could prove the falsification of its document, adding that the petitioner’s failure to call INEC to give evidence was fatal to the case.

Ngige had alleged disenfranchisement of voters, invalid voters register, multiple registration by Obiano and corrupt practices as some of the electoral malpractices that substantially affected the poll.

On Nwoye’s petition seeking nullification of the election for alleged irregularities and disenfranchisement, Bello held that the petitioner failed to prove the case.

Nwoye had contended that the alleged removal of his name from the voters register formed part of the irregularities noticed during the poll.

Bello, however, said the petitioner failed to prove the allegation that dead persons voted, saying that Nwoye’s evidence fell short of electoral standards.

He held that PDP’s petition which alleged corrupt practices in four polling units out of 4,608 polling units was not substantial to nullify the election.

The judge noted that the PDP failed to prove the allegation of multiple registrations, missing names in the voters register and voting by dead persons.

Bello commended the cooperation and maturity displayed by parties and urged them to sustain the attitude.

The News Agency of Nigerian recalls that INEC declared Obiano of APGA winner of the Nov. 16, 2013, Nov.17, 2013 and Nov. 30, 2013 governorship election after polling 180,178 votes, on Dec. 1, 2013.

Nwoye came second with 97, 700 votes, Ngige came third with 95,963 votes while Mr Patrick Ubah of LP polled 36, 495 votes.

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