The Anambra State Election Petition Tribunal on Monday upheld the victory of Senator Uche Ekwunife and Senator Ifeanyi Ubah at Anambra South and Anambra Central Senatorial Districts election respectively.
The trio of Senator Victor Umeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chief Chris Uba of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had approached the tribunal challenging the declaration of Senator Uche Ekwunife of the PDP and Senator Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) won the said elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The petitioners prayed the tribunal to set aside the declaration of the electoral body in the grounds of irregularities and over-voting of the results.
Delivering its judgement, Justice Therma Okara ruled that on the issue of the candidacy of Ekwunife, the matter is a pre-election matter and do not fall within the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
It also ruled that the petitioner has no locus to question the candidacy of Ekwunife at the tribunal adding that Umeh should have approached the Federal High Court in the matter.
The tribunal further in its judgement noted that based on the Electoral Act Sec 33, initial candidate of the PDP Mr Charles Odinukwe officially withdrew from the being the candidate of the party and that Ekwunife became the candidate of PDP within the stipulated time frame for the subscription of candidates.
It further affirmed that there are no evidence of over-voting in the said election and that the petitioner failed in law to prove the allegations of over-voting.
It dismissed the allegations of the roving collection officer as the law can only rely on the results of the polling officials and not an official that is moving from place to place hence dismissing the petitioner’s allegations on the twenty-six polling units in Obosi Idemili North local government area.
On the petition filed against Ifeanyi Ubah by Chris Uba the tribunal Judge, Justice Ngele Gilbert Alo, dismissed all the nineteen withness brought by the petitioner, observing that the testimonies of the witnesses have evidential value and that the tribunal is enjoined to reject the evidences because the prosecution witness 1 who relied on the card reader did not prove the allegations levelled against the respondent.
“The evidence of PW1 did not in any way support the submissions of the petitioner and it is clear that the evidences of the witnesses contradict themselves and the court cannot pick and choose which one it would follow.
“The petitioner failed to prove with the smart card reader which formed the basis of its claims from PW1 and it is hereby jettisoned and discountenance because all witnesses anchored their evidences on the card reader.
“The evidence of PW1 did not in any way support or reassure the Petitioner of it claimed victory.”
The tribunal, consequent upon the rulings, upheld that the duo of Senator Uche Ekwunife and Senator Ifeanyi Ubah were duly elected as winners of the Anambra Central and Anambra South Senatorial Districts elections in the state.
In his reaction shortly after the judgment, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah described the judgment as the victory for not only his Senatorial District but also for the entire people of Anambra State.