Ebonyi Election Tribunal to Deliver Judgment on Governorship Election - The Top Society

Ebonyi Election Tribunal to Deliver Judgment on Governorship Election

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The Ebonyi State Election Petitions Tribunal has set a date for the much-awaited judgment in the dispute over the gubernatorial election held on March 18, 2023. Tribunal Secretary, Henry Nwior, confirmed the decision on Tuesday, announcing that proceedings will commence promptly at 9 a.m.

This high-stakes tribunal is tasked with ruling on two petitions challenging the election victory of Governor Francis Nwifuru. The Independent National Election Commission (INEC) had declared Gov. Nwifuru as the winner of the election, securing 199,131 votes across the 13 local councils in the state, while his closest rival, Ifeanyi of the PDP, trailed with 80,191 votes. Governor Nwifuru was subsequently issued a Certificate of Return and inaugurated as Governor on May 29.

However, the outcome has been vehemently contested. Bernard Odoh of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and his party, alongside Ifeanyi and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), lodged petitions with the tribunal.

Ebonyi

Odoh’s petition asserts Nwifuru’s disqualification on the grounds of certificate forgery and ineligibility due to his alleged dual-party membership. Odoh maintains that Nwifuru’s simultaneous affiliation with the APC and PDP violates constitutional provisions. Additionally, Odoh alleges that Nwifuru submitted fake certificates to INEC. He urges the tribunal to nullify the election and order a fresh one in accordance with constitutional provisions.

Concurrently, the PDP and their candidate, Mr. Odii, also demand the tribunal’s intervention. They call for INEC to withdraw Nwifuru’s Certificate of Return, contending that he was ineligible to contest on the APC platform as he had not officially defected from the PDP. They cite a prior judgment by Justice Henry Njoku of the Ebonyi State High Court that upheld Nwifuru’s PDP membership.

Both petitions accuse INEC of electoral infractions and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022. Meanwhile, Governor Nwifuru, in his defense, asserts that he resigned from the PDP and joined the APC before participating in their primary election. He has submitted the APC’s membership register as evidence.

The tribunal, originally seated in Abakaliki, Ebonyi’s capital, was relocated to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, due to security concerns raised by opposition parties. The verdict, expected to have far-reaching implications, will be announced on Wednesday.

Don’t miss out on: Lagos APC Commends Sanwo-Olu Over Tribunal Victory and Encourages Opposition’s Cooperation

 

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