Few weeks after the governorship election in Imo State, the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Ifeanyi Ararume, has challenged the state’s Election Petition Tribunal to nullify and set aside the governorship election in the state.
In his statement he claimed that the governorship election was invalid and non-compliant with the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The governorship candidate also called for an order voiding the Certificate of Return given to the Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Emeka Ihedioha.
The Independent National Electoral Commission and PDP are the respondents in the suit.
In his petition no: IM/EPT/GOV/03/2019 and filed on his behalf by Ahmed Raji (SAN); K.C Nwufo (SAN); I. K Bawa (SAN) and others, the petitioner also asked for an order directing the INEC to conduct a fresh gubernatorial election in Imo State, in compliance with the provision of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act.
Senator Ararume stated that the results from Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise, Ehime Mbano and 17 other local government council areas of the states were void and unlawful votes.
He stated that INEC had sourced for electoral officers from the University of Agriculture, Umudike, but few hours to the election the electoral officers were changed and replace with untrained electoral officers and ad-hoc staff.
He further claimed that the electoral officers who were not trained and from Mbaise LGA were deployed few hours to the election.
The APGA Governorship candidate also stated that the untrained electoral staff did not stand by oath of neutrality.
Ararume in his petition also claimed that there was massive hijacking and diversion of ballot papers and other electoral material to places other than polling units where several booklets of ballot papers were “massively thumb printed” by agents of the PDP in favour of Ihedohia.
He stated that the multiple thumb-printed ballot papers for the candidate of PDP was stuffed into the ballot boxes and recorded in favour of Ihedioha.
Ararume also claimed that the agents of PDP, procure massive numbers of Permanent Voter Cards and wrongfully used them on the Card readers.
He stated that this resulted in false record of accreditation on the Smart Card Readers, as shown by the serial and sustained fingerprint verification failure in the polling units.
Araraume further stated that the consequences of the alleged corrupt practices allegedly perpetrated by PDP and its candidate, acting through their agents and surrogates, led to the purported victory of PDP and its candidate at the election.
He also said the respondent did not win one-quarter of the votes cast at the said election in each of at least two-third of all the local government areas in the state, as required by section 179(2) and (3) of the 1999 constitution.
The APGA governorship candidate said that he submitted the said result sheets as in Forms EC8B, EC8C, EC8D and EC8E to a specialist for his professional analysis.
He revealed that at the computation, Ihedohia did not secure one-quarter of the votes cast in each of at least two-third of all the 27 LGAs in the state, as required by the constitution.
He also averred that out of the 27 LGAs in the state, the purported winner of the election scored 25 per cent of total votes cast in 12 local government areas, thereby rendering his purported return invalid.