Tribunal Dismisses MPPP, ADC Petitions, Upholds Obiano Election

The election petition tribunal sitting in Awka On the November 18, 2017 Anambra state governorship election has dismissed the petition field by Praise Okechiukwu Ekwuozo, candidate of the Mega Progressive People Party  (MPPP) on the ground of not been able to provide substantial evidence to invalidate the election.

The court held that the petitioner, Barrister Praise Ekuwozor of the MPPP was not able to provide enough prosecution witnesses alongside polling unit agents who are the prime witness of election petitions before the law, who will give firsthand eyewitness account to what transpired at the poll, from the ward to the Local government headquarters.
Delivering the judgment in about two and half hour, the chairman of the Anambra state election petition tribunal, Justice H. A Olusiyi held that the petitioner failed to support his petition with substantial evidence in compliance with section 4 (1c) of the electoral act 2010 as amended.
Also ruling on the second petition filed by Dr. Paul Obianaso, candidate of the African Democratic Conscious (ADC) in the said election, the tribunal held that the petitioner who prayed that the Third Respondent (INEC) connived with the first respondent (Willie Obiano) for financial inducement and vote buying, the court submitted that the petitioner failed to provide substantial evidence to support his claims.
The tribunal also held that the petitioner first did not properly sign and file the application and hinged his witnesses on Newspaper evidence which it held it’s a hear-say and is not admissible before the court as credible evidence to invalidate an election.
The court finally held that the  petitioner was not able to furnish the court with enough evidential value to admit his petition, saying the petitioner failed to prove that Governor Willie Obiano spend over 200 million naira as provided by the electoral act  as amended for governorship election.
The court ruled further that the tribunal was handicapped to accept that the petition really show that there were financial inducement and vote buying as prayed  by petitioner and that in a process marred the poll and therefore dismissed the petition for lack of credible evidence to nullify the November 18, 2018,  Anambra governorship election .
The parties in the matter held that they will challenge the matter in higher courts to established their petitions that there were irregularities in the just concluded Anambra state governorship election.
The tribunal advised in the judgment on the need for petitioners to move beyond rhetoric but provide substantial evidence to establish their petition and to bring forward reliable witnesses that will be useful in the matter.
It notes further that matters which are pre-elections should not be brought before election petition tribunal, which to them constitutes waste of court’s time to entertain matter that is not within their jurisdiction


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