The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has defended its declaration of Senator Uche Ekwunife, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of Anambra Central Senatorial district during the March 28, 2015 general elections and urged the Justice Layai Abagana-led Election Petition Tribunal 1, sitting in Awka, the Anambra state capital to affirm the declaration.
The Electoral Oficer (EO) in charge of Idemili-North local
government, Mr. Christian Nzogbu who testified on behalf of the Commission told the tribunal jurists yesterday that even though there were alterations in the figure of the results of the polls recorded in Form EC 8As in some polling units, the errors were later corrected and the corrections counter signed by the Presiding officers, and that after the total calculations, it was discovered that Ekwunife scored a total of 93,860 votes to beat the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance 9APGA), Chief Victor Umeh who is contesting her victory.
The INEC witness told the tribunal that the Anambra Central Senatorial Poll was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended).
He specifically told the Tribunal Form EC 40A which he stated is the commission’s “information form” is where the analysis of the results of election in each polling unit is recorded, including the total number of registered voters, ballot papers issued, accreditated voters, valid votes cast, invalid ballot papers used, and that it is only when the total number of ballot papers used in the polling units exceed the number of ballot papers issued that the result of the election in that polling unit could be said to be fraudulent.
In her testimony under cross examination by Umeh’s lawyer, Chief Patrick Igweto, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Senator Ekwunife told the tribunal that she won the Senatorial election clear and square.
Though she admitted that the total number of votes cast in one of the polling units exceeded the number of accredited voters by about 5 votes, such error she argued was not substantial to nullify her victory in the poll.
Ekwunife who was in the witness box for about two hours told the tribunal similar infractions in some polling unit results unpon which the APGA candidate essentially predicated his petition also occurred in about 60 other polling units within the senatorial district, but, that the petitioner deliberately ignored such polling units because he secured highest votes in them claiming that those polling units he is complaining of infractions in, were where she scored higher votes than he garnered.   


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