APGA wants invalid, surplus votes in Anambra cancelled
Begins materials inspection in Umuahia
CANDIDATE of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for Anaocha/Njikoka/Dunukofia Federal Constituency in the March 28 election, Dozie Nwankwo, last weekend closed his case at the Anambra State Elections Petition Tribunal 1 in Awka, presided by Justice Nayai Aganaba.
Nwankwo is challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) declaration of Dr. Okey Eze of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the election, insisting that he won overwhelmingly instead.
Also closing his case was the APGA former chairman and Anambra Central senatorial candidate at the same poll, Victor Umeh, who is also challenging INEC’s declaration of Senator Uche Ekwunife of the PDP as winner.
Umeh urged the tribunal to cancel all invalid votes, mutilated results and over-voting where results were found to exceed the number of accredited voters. This, he said would prove his argument that he won very convincingly.
Parties inspect materials
Meanwhile, APGA yesterday at the tribunal in Umuahia began inspection of the materials used for the Abia State governorship election in the presence of security agencies, INEC and PDP representatives.
The Justice Usman Bwala-led tribunal had last Friday, at the instance of APGA candidate, Dr. Alex Otti, ordered INEC to make the materials available at the tribunal for a joint inspection by APGA and PDP.
Otti, who is challenging Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu’s declaration as winner, had asked the tribunal for access to the materials. Over 20 bags containing the materials reportedly used for Ugwunagbo local council were brought for inspection.
However, a television cameraman was whisked away as he was positioning to video the process. Shortly after he was taken away in a guarded security van, he was seen at the Government House and told journalists not to worry about his “arrest.”
On the inspection, which was witnessed by forensic experts reportedly hired by both parties, the state APGA Publicity Secretary, Uche Nwosu, was happy that it has commenced in spite of the delays and the slow process, which he said was PDP’s ploy to scuttle it.
However, a PDP counsel, Anayo Nwakodo, said he was satisfied with the process and hoped that it would progress without the initial hitches.
Nwankwo’s principal witness (the PW1), Samuel Oraegbunam, who was led in evidence by his counsel, Dr. Olatoke Joshua (SAN), drew the curtain for the APGA candidate unexpectedly at the weekend against all expectations that they were to present about 20 witnesses.
Oraegbunam had told the tribunal that he was Nwankwo’s constituency coalition officer and that he coordinated all his agents and staff effectively on election day because he sought for and obtained special approval from INEC to move round to attend to the needs of his party agents.
He said he based his testimony on documents given him by other agents, alleging that the manipulation of the process was done at the ward and council levels by the officers of the first and second respondents (Eze and PDP).
Eze and the PDP would take the stand from August 10, and Eze’s counsel has also indicated that they would present only seven witnesses instead of the 20 earlier projected.