29th December, 2013
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the 16 November Anambra State Governorship Election, Dr. Chris Ngige has sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and four others at the Anambra State Governorship and Legislative Houses Elections Petition Tribunal at Awka.
Also joined as respondents in the petition instituted by Ngige and APC are the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukaogu; the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Chief Willie Obiano, the APGA candidate in the election, and the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD).
In the petition filed by their counsel, Messrs Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), George Uwechue (SAN) and Emeka Ngige (SAN) among others, the APC and Ngige are asking the tribunal to nullify the controversial election, claiming that it was vitiated by substantial non-compliance with mandatory statutory requirements and irregularities and that “none of the candidates in the said election was entitled to be returned.”
The petitioners said they were aggrieved with the declaration of Obiano as the winner of the election, and argued that while the APGA candidate did not satisfy the mandatory requirements of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended, the election was conducted in a manner which was manifestly and substantially not in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
The petitioners thus pray the tribunal to declare that Obiano was not duly elected or returned and that his election was void. They are also asking the tribunal to determine that the use of an invalid Voters’ Register rendered the elections of 16,th 17th and 30th November, 2013 invalid by reason of non-compliance with provisions of Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
Ngige and APC are also seeking a declaration that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and/or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, and that Obiano was not qualified to contest the questioned election as the APGA candidate.
They want the tribunal to declare that Obiano was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election and that the APGA candidate did not receive 25 per cent of votes cast in two-thirds of the 21 local councils of Anambra State as required by the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The petitioners therefore seek a declaration by the tribunal that “the election and return of the 3rd Respondent be nullified and a fresh election be ordered amongst the parties and candidates who contested the said election save 3rd and 4th Respondents.”
Meanwhile, the tribunal has ordered that Obiano and APGA be served by substituted means by pasting the petition on the tribunal’s notice board. The order was made on 22nd December, 2013 while the respondents are expected to respond within 14 days.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Mr. Tony Nwoye has also filed a petition at the tribunal. Mr. Nwoye was one of those disenfranchised during the election, as he and several members of his family did not find their names on the voters’ register used for the election, though they had their voters’ cards.