By Charles Onyekamuo
The Governorship Election petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, the Anambra State capital, yesterday wound up proceedings in the petitions emanating from the November 16, 2013 governorship election. All the petitioners and respondents adopted their addresses.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate in the election, Senator Chris Ngige as well as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Comrade Tony Nwoye had all filed petitions against the declaration of Chief Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the election.
The petitioners also joined the INEC in their various petitions.
At yesterday’s sitting, however, all the petitioners and respondents’ Counsels were present at the Tribunal.
While submitting their written addresses for adoption, counsels to APC and Ngige, as well as those for PDP and Nwoye, Rotimi Akeredolu, (SAN) Emeka Ngige (SAN) Emma Ukala (SAN) D.C Denwige (SAN) and Uchechukwu Ezechukwu (SAN), variously urged the tribunal to cancel the election that brought Willie Obiano to Power for lacking in substantial compliance with both the constitution and Electoral Act, 2010 as amended and conduct a fresh election.
While addressing the Tribunal yesterday, one of the APC, and Ngige counsels, Emeka Ngige (SAN) submitted that the third respondent in the petition, Chief Willie Obiano against the impending issue of disqualification had failed totally.
He said that the only entity which could have established whether Obiano was culpable on the issue of multiple registration as well as giving false information as APGA candidate which combined effect was disqualification was the INEC.
He posited that the INEC not having called any witness abandoned the third respondent to his fate and allowed his defence to collapse, arguing that since that was the case, the INEC certified evidence before the court substantially and the pleading of the petitioners on EPT/AN/GOV/02/2013 and the evidence adduced by their witnesses on the matter remained unchallenged, unresponded to and un contradicted.
This he said was a conclusive proof for Obiano to be disqualified and a fresh election conducted in Anambra State.
Ngige was responding to the submission of Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) counsel to Obiano who urged the tribunal to hold that the accusation of substance before the tribunal against his client was that he submitted a forged document to the INEC for the election.
Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) representing APC urged the Tribunal to take a second look at the Tribunal exhibit RR431 tendered by Obiano which he had claimed was a transfer form for his voter registration particulars and find that the title document was “CVR Application Form”
“My Lord, CVR stands for Continuous voter registration which means that it cannot be a transfer form, but an application form. The form contains three sections and the 3rd respondent admitted that he completed and signed section I of the document where in an answer to a question if he had registered before, he said .