Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Friday upheld the election of the State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Tribunal presided over by Justice H. Kwajafa gave this verdict while delivering judgment on the petition brought by the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the State, Okey Ezea, challenging the outcome of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the State, won by Ugwuanyi.
Delivering the judgment which lasted for over three hours, Justice Kwajafa among other findings by the tribunal held that it had earlier in the course of the hearing struck out several paragraphs of Ezea’s petition for being imprecise, vague, related to party nomination which is a pre-election matter and contained criminal allegation against people who were not made parties to the petition.It struck out the petition filed by Ezea on the grounds that it was frivolous, lacked merit and against court processes.
He added that the petitioners’ allegation on over-voting and non accreditation through the manipulation of the Card Readers Machine by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other respondents were not sufficiently proved as it is only voters’ register that could determine the number of voters that participated in an election, stating that the petitioner failed to provide the voters’ registers to prove his case.
Justice Kwajafa also noted that the petitioners’ witnesses which were only 6 persons drawn from 6 polling units out of the 2,958 polling units in the state which is not sufficient to provide enough evidence to support his case rendering it incompetent.
According to him, the Tribunal further held that even at that, the six witnesses admitted that the governorship election was free, fair and peaceful with minor irregularities which were not sufficient enough to cancel the election.
Justice Kwajafa said that the petitioners also failed to prove their allegation of falsification result figures, maintaining that mere assertion that the figures were falsified was not enough evidence to allow them their prayers.
The Tribuna therefore dismissed the petition and upheld the election of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as valid.
It awarded a cost of N150,000 to each of the respondents in the petition.
As soon as the news of the tribunal’s decision filtered out to a large crowd of anxious supporters of Gov. Ugwuanyi, the entire court premises went into jubilation, as they started singing victory songs in praise of the governor.
Ugwuanyi on receipt of the news of the judgment drove round the major streets of Enugu in company of the Local Government Chairmen to thank the people of the state for their support and prayers.
Reacting on the judgement, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has congratulated the Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on his victory at the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Friday, describing it as victory for the people of the State.
He said: “Some petitions are sheer fulfillment of all political righteousness. The volume of Ugwanyi’s goodwill and popularity among the political class and the masses as a governorship aspirant, candidate, and now an incumbent governor is unprecedented. So, we made the right choice and what the Tribunal has just done is to confirm that our choice was fairly, freely, and credibly made in compliance with the electoral laws.
“More important, although the Governor Ugwuanyi administration is still too young, but looking at the political peace he has brought to the State as well as his policy directions and several cardinal steps by his government towards living up to his campaign promises, one can confidently say that he has so far justified the confidence reposed in him because a job well begun is half done”. He called on the people of Enugu State to continue to support and pray for the Governor in his development efforts.