The Governorship Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on Friday, upheld te election of Governor Dave Umahi in the April 11 gubernatorial elections.
Umahi’s election was challenged at the tribunal by the Labour Party’s candidate, Chief Edward Nkwegu.
Nkwegu had prayed the tribunal to either annul the election or declare him the winner of the polls due to several electoral malpractice and violence perpetrated by the respondent’s party.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Theresa Igoche, in a judgment that lasted more than eight hours, dismissed the petition for ‘lack of merit.’
Igochie ruled that the petitioner could not prove that incidences of violence, which he claimed marred the election and contributed to his loss at the polls.
“The petitioner claimed that two Labour Party polling agents, Monday Ojo and Kalu Orji, were killed by agents of the respondent’s party at Afikpo North Local Government Area.
“The petitioner could not, however, prove that the polling agents were killed by the agents of respondent’s party, as the evidences he provided were insufficient,” she said.
The tribunal chairman also said the petitioner could not mention the identities of the people he claimed had perpetrated irregularities on behalf of the respondent and his party.
“The petitioner claimed that the respondent’s party and its agents engaged in electoral irregularities such as manual voting, double thumb printing, snatching of ballot boxes, among other irregularities.
“He could not however prove the specific polling units where the irregularities were committed and the identities of those who allegedly perpetrated the aforementioned irregularities.”
She said the petitioner could also not provide the actual number of votes that he claimed were dubiously awarded to the respondent, as against the actual votes cast during the election.
“The petitioner could not prove incidences of electoral fraud at the various local government areas of the state, as the evidences he submitted could not substantially prove incidences of irregularities in these areas.
“The petitioner’s prayer for the nullification or his declaration as the authentic winner of the election is hereby not granted as the petition is dismissed for lack of merit,” she ruled.