Anambra Central: Tribunal declares Senator Umeh duly elected

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Anambra State election petition tribunal sitting in Awka has upheld the victory of the Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Chief Victor Umeh in the January 13 Senatorial re-run election in the zone.
Chairman of tribunal, Justice H. A. Olusiyi, who read the judgment, described the petitioner, Mr. Nkem Ekweozoh of Mega Peoples Progressives Party, MPPP, as a meddlesome interloper, insisting that he had no business prying into the domestic affairs of All progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, a political party he was a complete stranger. He subsequently dismissed the five reliefs sought by the petitioner as lacking merit. According to the tribunal, the petitioner was unable to prove his case as the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to look into the issue of Umeh’s nomination, his sponsorship and candidature Ekweozoh, a lawyer, had in his petition, claimed that Umeh was not qualified to contest the election as his nomination came at a time he was still the national chairman of his party, APGA, and that he (Umeh) spent far above the maximum election expenses of N40 million as stipulated by law. In the petition EPT/AN/SEN/01/2018, APGA and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were joined as second and third respondents respectively. In a unanimous judgment, that lasted more than five hours, Justice Olusiyi, who led the other two Judges namely, Justice A. O. Ayoola, and Justice A. U. Birnin Kudu, said Ekweozoh lacked the locus standi to contest the out-come of the election. He said: “The petitioner is a rabble rouser, who tried to make heavy weather of issues of Umeh’s sponsorship and nomination, when he was not a member of APGA or an aggrieved aspirant. “All the particulars of fact in support of the petitioner’s grounds that Umeh, at the time of the election, was not qualified to contest the election, were not proved by any credible evidence known to our laws and therefore the petition had failed woefully.” In his reaction, Ekweozoh said he would appeal against the judgement. “I am pained that the tribunal tagged me a meddlesome interloper for challenging Umeh’s nomination by APGA.”

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