Forty-eight hours to the expiration of the twenty-one days stipulated by the Electoral Act for the filing of petitions against the outcome of the Anambra State gubernatorial elections, eleven political parties and their candidates beat the deadline by filing their petitions to the Election Petition Tribunal.
The political parties between Monday and Tuesday made a last-minute filing of their petitions as against expectations in some quarters that it would be a walkover for the Governor-Elect and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo.
Among the parties that approached the tribunal include Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who is calling for a declaration that he won a majority of the valid votes cast in the said election.
The Action Democratic Party ADP and its candidate, Prince Adam Ume-Ezeoke, in their petition prayed the tribunal for the nullification of the election on the grounds that the Bi-Modal Accreditation Verification System BVAS is not in the Electoral Act and the malfunctioning ultimately disenfranchised over ninety per cent of the registered voters.
Also, the candidate of the Accord Party, Dr Godwin Maduka, and his party called for the nullification of the election on the ground of irregularities.
Other parties include the United Patriots which petitioned the tribunal on the grounds of wrongful exclusion of the party name from the ballot calling for the nullification of the election as well as the Green Party and the Action People’s Party (APP) among others.
But the duo of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP and its candidate, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, and candidate of the Young Progressive Party YPP Senator Ifeanyi Ubah did not petition the tribunal.
Similarly, the three Tribunal Judges are being expected to arrive in Anambra State following the filing of the petitions and according to the Secretary of the tribunal, Barr Surajo Gusau, the judges are being expected in Awka very soon adding that the fears that the judges would be sitting in Abuja are not correct.
Already petitioners at the tribunal have appealed to the President of the Appeal to allow the tribunal to sit in Awka noting that the cost and inconveniences of relocating to Abuja with the attendant challenges are not in the interest of the petitioners.
Reacting to the development, the Special Adviser to Gov Wille Obiano on Political Matters, Bar Ifeatu Obiokoye, told reporters that “we shall take it as it comes and we are not losing sleep over those petitions and do not loose sight of the game plan of a particular party and petitioner by sponsoring some lesser political parties to go to tribunal and later withdraw from the suits and collapse into their benefactors at the end of the day.
“Our party the All Progressives Grand Alliance won the election and we are prepared to defend our mandate at the tribunal,” he said
In a similar election matter, the governorship candidate of Accord Party on November 6, 2021, Anambra State election, Dr Godwin Maduka, has dismissed reports on social media which doubted his capacity to govern the state, describing it as “an attempt to tarnish his image.”
Reports published on social media had alleged that the medical doctor would have turned the state government into a clubhouse or home for unethical practices if he had won the governorship race.
But reacting in a statement he personally signed, Maduka described the information as false publication disseminated by unscrupulous naysayers bent on tarnishing his imagefor no just course.
He urged the Anambra people and party faithful to ignore the false news.
The statement reads in parts: “It is unfortunate that some unserious individuals have bent on tarnishing my image just to jeopardize my intentions of bringing Anambra state to more progressive and inclusive development. Be informed that Dr Maduka’s integrity and principles which depicts him as oneofthe good philanthropists and true leader cannotdescend so low to such false rumour.
“My years of experiences as a medical professional has earned me an international reputation and honour, therefore I cannot indulge in such inhumane act. I urged Ndi Anambra to remain resolute, and unperturbed but accept the false accusation as one of the propaganda been carried out by those who do not mean well for our dear state. Hence, it is paramount to note that those behind the ungodly act will soon be put to shame.”