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Ngige files appeal •We have no hand in his defeat – PDP

Posted by By GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka on 2005/08/17 | Views: 376 |

Ngige files appeal •We have no hand in his defeat – PDP


The embattled Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige has filed an appeal against last Friday’s verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal which declared Mr. Peter Obi of the All Progessives Grand Alliance (APGA) winner of the 2003 gubernatorial election.

The embattled Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige has filed an appeal against last Friday’s verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal which declared Mr. Peter Obi of the All Progessives Grand Alliance (APGA) winner of the 2003 gubernatorial election.

The Governor served notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal, Enugu just as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it had no hand in his defeat at the tribunal.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, John Odey, who spoke on the verdict of the tribunal, said the party believes in due process, and was not in a position to induce the judicial process on any matter.
His explanation came even as prominent political appointees of the Ngige administration continued to refuse to comment on the verdict of the tribunal.

The Commissioner of Special Duties, Chief Chris Atuegwu, who is seen in government circles as being very close to Governor Ngige refused to speak to the numerous journalists who beseiged his office.
In the 22-page document signed by his lead counsel, Chief J.H.C Okolo (SAN) with G.N Uwechue (SAN) and Emeka Ngige (SAN), Governor Ngige is asking the court for an order allowing the appeal, an order striking out the petition for lack of jurisdiction or alternatively an order dismissing the petition and for such order or further orders as the court might deem fit to make in the circumstance.
In the notice of appeal, the Governor marshalled out 12 grounds of appeal and urged the court to give him justice.
On ground one, he noted that the lower tribunal seriously erred in law when in its judgment it assumed jurisdiction to entertain the petition despite the fact that it clearly lacked jurisdiction to do so.

He stressed that under Section 285 (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the election tribunal vested with the jurisdiction to entertain a governorship election petition is "Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Tribunal".
He noted that in the instant case it was National Assembly/Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Petition Tribunal, which according to him is non-existent and unknown and unrecognized by the Nigerian Constitution and Electoral Law 2000.

On Ground two, he said that members of the lower tribunal seriously erred in law "when they proceeded to hear and determine the petition herein with inconsistent quorum and thereby denying the 1st Respondent/Appellant the right to fair hearing as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria and all relevant charters, protocols and Treaties subscribed to by the Federal Republic of Nigeria".

Ngige also found the lower tribunal erring in law when in their judgment he said they failed to invoke the provisions of Section 133 (2) of Electoral Act, 2002 following the failure of the petitioner to join the statutory necessary parties to the petition.

He also said that members of the tribunal erred in law for holding that there were no distinctions between ward and local government "Returning" Officers and wards, local government "Collation" officers in relation to governorship election and "the two are interchangeable".
The lower tribunal was also found erring in law by Ngige when it declared the Petitioner (Obi) as Governor of Anambra State in the absence of any pleading or evidence of compliance with Section 60 and 136 (2) of the Electoral Act, 2002 read together with Section 179 (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.

On Ground Seven, Ngige stated that the tribunal below erred in law for holding that "The Petitioner scored the majority of lawful notes cast at the election which error led to the erroneous finding that the petitioner was duly elected".
He is also quarreling with the pronouncement of the tribunal that the standard of proof required of the petitioner to establish his allegation of inflation of votes is based on balance of probability and not on proof beyond reasonable doubt.

"The Tribunal below erred in law in holding that the 1st Respondent did not prove the allegation of tribal and religious politics and inducement of voters thereby occasioning a miscarriage of justice.
"The Tribunal below erred in law in wrongfully excluding the newspaper advertisement contained in the Vanguard Newspaper of 17th April 2003.
"The Tribunal below erred in law in holding that the Further Amended Petition upon which the petition was canvassed was properly placed before them, and Ground 12 the Omnibus Ground "that government is against the weight of evidence".



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