Sen. Ike Ekweremadu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who’s victory as the Senator representing Enugu West senatorial district, has been affirmed by the State and National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Enugu on Monday.
The tribunal, in a unanimous judgement delivered on Monday, dismissed the petition brought by Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as lacking in merit.
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Vangard reports that the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Haruna Kereng, while reading the judgment, said that the petitioners completely failed to prove their allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.
Justice Haruna Kereng said that allegations of substantial non-compliance to the Electoral Act, thuggery, falsification of figures needed to be proven, polling unit by polling unit.
He further said that the few polling unit witnesses brought by the petitioners failed to demonstrate to the tribunal how the election figures were falsified. He pointed out that out of the 824 polling units, 81 wards and five local government areas in the state, the petitioners were only able to present 16 witnesses with most of them presenting testimonies that were not convincing.
“INEC had declared Ekweremadu winner with 86,088 votes against 15,187 scored by Ibekaku-Nwagwu. It is the responsibility of the petitioners to bring their polling unit agents to demonstrate to us how over 70,000 votes will be deducted from the score of the first respondent to make them winners.
“They only presented witnesses in few polling units and wards,” he said.
Justice Haruna Kereng said that the petitioners ought to have pleaded two forms of results, which should have included the wrong and correct results as this would have proven their claims.
He also made reference to certain paragraphs of their petition, which contained criminal allegations. However the alleged criminals were unknown.
“Having failed woefully to prove their allegations that the first respondent (Ekweremadu) was not elected by a majority of the lawful vote cast, we, therefore, affirm the election of the first respondent as the winner of the election,” he declared.
The Honorable Justice further awarded a cost of N750,000 against the petitioners.
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