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HARVEST OF PETITIONS

Posted by By GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka. on 2007/06/09 | Views: 457 |

HARVEST OF PETITIONS


The Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Enugu must have ignored the experiences of 2003 election petition in Anambra State or probably he over looked the litany of the protests that followed when he sent only one officer to receive and register election petitions in the state.

* Scores of candidates ask for nullification of Anambra governorship poll

The Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Enugu must have ignored the experiences of 2003 election petition in Anambra State or probably he over looked the litany of the protests that followed when he sent only one officer to receive and register election petitions in the state.

The officer, Mr. Emmanuel Ugo, whose designation is secretary of the Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Petition Tribunal, Anambra State, would however, not tell all he saw as he had to even use candle lights and stayed all nights and day in the office to beat the deadline for the governorship and state House of Assembly petition submissions, as the number of petitioners were overwhelming.

At the end of the deadline, nine governorship candidates in the April 14 governorship election in the state had filed their petitions, while the number of the House of Assembly candidates were yet unknown.
Curiously, none of the nine petitions asked to be declared winner, but all were in agreement that the said election, which declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Dr. Andy Uba as governor should be nullified.

Two of the petitioners, who were also the first and second to file their papers, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and former governor of the state, and Action Congress (AC) candidate, Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige, in their petitions said that the said election was, ab-initio, a nullity because they were unlawfully excluded from it by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The other seven have almost the same grounds and prayer, as according to them, no election held in the state and the few places they held, they were marked by irregularitie,s hence they want a fresh governorship election to be conducted in the state.

One of them, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu of the African Political System (APS) however, has an additional issue where he contended that the governor-elect, Andy Uba was in the first place, not qualified to run for the election because, according to him, Uba presented a forged certificate.
The petitions

Dr. Chris Ngige’s petition no EPT/AN/GE/2/2007 which has Action Congress, Chris Ngige and Philip Agbasi as petitioners against INEC, resident electoral commissioner, REC Anambra State, returning officer governorship election, Anambra State and Dr. Andy Uba, said:“That the election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2006.
“That the 2nd and 3rd petitioners (Ngige and Agbasi) were unlawfully excluded from the election by the 1st to 3rd respondents.”

It therefore prayed the tribunal to “determine that the 4th respondent, Dr. Andy Uba, was not validly elected as governor of Anambra State in that the said election was totally void.”
“That the 1st and 2nd respondent conduct a fresh governorship election in Anambra state with names of 1st and 2nd petitioners clearly included in the list of candidates and in the ballot papers for the said election”.

In his own petition, no EPT/AN/GE/1/2007, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and ANPP against INEC, REC and Andy Uba, Ukachukwu, in his prayer, said: “That the 1ast petitioner who is the candidate of the 2nd petitioner for the governorship election in Anambra State, was validly nominated but was unlawfully excluded from the election by the 1st respondent.

He therefore, prayed the tribunal to hold “that the 1st petitioner, having been duly nominated the candidate of the ANPP for the 2007 governorship election in Anambra State be included in the list of governorship candidate for the state in accordance with the subsisting orders of court.
“He also asked for an order nullifying the election for governorship in Anambra State purportedly conducted by the respondent on Saturday, 14th April, 2007 to the exclusion of the 1st petitioner as one of the candidates”.

Dr. Obiogbolu, in his petition no EPT/AN/GE//2007, prayed the tribunal to declare “that the return of the 1st respondent was null, void, invalid and of no effect by reason of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2006, that the 1st respondent was not duly and validly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the purported election.

Also is said that “the governorship election purportedly conducted by the 2nd – 26th respondents in Anambra State on 14th April, 2007 is invalid, null, void and of no effect by reason of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2006, adding that the 1st respondent, whose election is questioned, was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election. That the symbol placed beside the APS in the ballot papers for the Anambra State governorship election of 14th April 2007 was not the registered ‘Peacock’ symbol of the party system”.

Mr. Emeka Okafor of People Progressive Alliance (PPA) said “that the election was invalid by reasons of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of Electoral Act, 2006” and that the election was invalid by reasons of corrupt practices perpetrated by INEC and PDP officials with the assistance of armed policemen.”

He is praying the tribunal to determine “that the 14th respondent, Dr. Andy E. Uba was not validly elected as governor of Anambra State in that the said election was a nullity for the following reason: That the election was invalid by reason of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2006; that the election was invalid for reason of corrupt practices.

Furthermore, he prays that the questioned election be nullified; that fresh elections be conducted in Anambra State pursuant to paragraph 27 of 1st schedule of the Electoral Act, 2007.And for such order or further orders as the honourable tribunal may deem fit to make in the circumstances”.
Offers to petitioners
While the preparation for litigation was going on, the new governor camp was said to be busy trying to approach the candidates as it is usual in the political setting with mouth- watering offers to withdraw or abandon their petitions.

Daily Sun gathered that the new governor and his team approached Ngige from various sides, especially by sending prominent Nigerians across the country to speak to him, including other governors.
It was gathered that Ngige was also being offered an ambassadorial position to make him give up the fight, just as the governor of Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki is said to be the latest in the line of personalities that had gone to woo Ngige.

Reacting to the issue of the alleged offer, Ngige told Daily Sun that ‘there is no truth’ in the rumour making the rounds that he was being approached to withdraw from the tribunal.
He said, “No such offer has been made to me, not to talk of acceptance or rejection. I have made my point clear and that is: there was no election in Anambra State on April 14 and 21, 2007. The issue is above persons and personal interests. All we are saying is that we want consent. Anambra people should be given an opportunity to choose who governs them. I was wrongfully excluded from the contest, and as such the exercise was not free and fair. So at the end of the day no contest took place.

“We want to be allowed, in accordance with the laws of the land, to present ourselves for election, and for the people to freely choose who leads them. Until this is done, I will keep challenging my wrongful exclusion from the polls, which nevertheless did not hold,” Ngige said.
While Ngige said he was not approached, Dr. Obiogbolu said he has been severally approached indirectly by the Uba to drop his case.

“They have severally reached me with monetary inducements through emissaries; they wanted to pay my expenses, so that I can stop the legal war. But I told them that I stand on bedrock of justice and that’s why I am seeking justice for not just myself, but for Anambrarians,” he said.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding