The legislative Houses of Assembly election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, the Anambra state capital yesterday affirmed the election of Iyom Uche Ekwunife as the validly elected senator representing Anambra central senatorial zone in the upper chamber of National Assembly.
Ekwunife of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who won the March 28, senatorial election in the central district of the state was shortly after the election dragged to the Tribunal by Chief Victor Umeh, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the election claiming that the election was not conductd in compliance with substantial provision of the electoral Act, 2010, as amended, that he won the election going by collated polling unit results and that Ekwunife was not validly nominated by the PDP to stand for election.
But the three man tribunal chaired by Justice Nayai Agabana in its judgment yesterday held that the computation of polling unit results by the INEC showed that Umeh scored 83,865 votes against 77,809 initial announced, while Ekwunife scored 93,860 votes as against 101,528 earlier announced, adding that both the Petitioner (Umeh) and the first and second respondents (Ekwunife and the INEC) didn’t controvert it.
Justice Agabana who read the judgment noted that insincerity of the petitioner made him not to lay the whole cards before the tribunal, stressing that the form EC8A1 he tendered before the tribunal was falsified and mutilated, describing the act as criminal.
The petitioner, the tribunal noted didn’t in the circumstance call any witness to show how the result in the form EC8A1 was generated in respect of the polling unit results.
The tribunal said it established that the cancellation in the INEC form EC8A1 which Umeh complained about was not meant to falsify the result but correction of errors which the Presiding Officer counter –signed, pointing that it was the reason the INEC accepted same without complaint.
The election, the tribunal held, was conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and that Umeh didn’t adduce any credible evidence to impugn the polling unit result.
It also held that though Ekwunife’s candidature was as a result of the primaries conducted by the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP, the issue of whether she was validly nominated was a pre-election matter.
Earlier, the Tribunal had upheld the election of Hon. Anayo Nnebe of Awka North/south Federal constituency saying he was validly elected and that the first Petitioner, Chief Godson Ezenagu didn’t win. The petitioner, the tribunal said failed to adduce evidence to prove how he won, and that the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the electoral Act, 2010.
The Tribunal said it was still wondering the majority of the votes the petitioner claimed to have won, noting that the results he submitted to it was the one recorded in form EC8A meant for the compilation of presidential election results, instead of the form EC8A2 meant for House of Representatives election.
Ezenagu of the APGA was contesting the declaration of Hon. Anayo Nnebe of PDP as the winner of Awka North/South federal constituency election of March 28.
The tribunal thereafter dismissed the petition for lacking in merit. (Thisday)