Tribunal Dismisses Contest Against Umeh’s Victory At The Polls
The Anambra Central Senatorial Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Awka, today dismissed the challenge against the victory of Sen. Victor Umeh in the Jan. 13, Anambra senatorial rerun election.
The three-man tribunal, made up of Justice H. A. Olusiyi, Justice A. O. Ayoola, and Justice A. U. Birnin Kudu dismissed the five reliefs sought by the petitioner as lacking merit and the inability of the applicant to proof his case.
The petitioner, Mr Nkem Ekweozoh, the candidate of the Mega Peoples Progressives Party (MPPP), had sought the voidance of Umeh’s victory on five grounds.
Ekweozoh claimed that Umeh was not duly elected by majority of valid votes cast at the election and that the victory was invalid as it was fraught with corrupt practices and substantial non compliance with the Electoral Act.
He further said 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.
Ekweozoh equally claimed that Umeh spent far above the maximum election expenses of N40 million as stipulated by law.
The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were joined in the petition marked “EPT/AN/SEN/01/2018’’ as second and third respondents respectively.
In his judgment, that lasted more than five hours, Justice Olusiyi, described the petitioner as a “`meddlesome interloper” and noted that Ekweozoh lacked the locus standi to contest the out-come of the election.
The panel further ruled that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to look into one of the complaints which related to Umeh’s nomination, sponsorship and candidature.
Olusiyi also described Ekweozoh as `a “rabble rouser” for making heavy weather of the issues of Umeh’s sponsorship and nomination when he was not a member of APGA or an aggrieved aspirant.
“”You cannot meddle into the domestic affairs of a party to which you are a complete stranger.
“”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,” he concluded.
Reacting to the judgment, Mr Ikeobi Ejiofor, a political associate of Umeh, who led other supporters to the tribunal, said the victory was not only for Anambra people, but for the entire South-East.