The State and National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Enugu has affirmed the election of Sen. Ike Ekweremadu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Feb. 23 general elections.
In a unanimous judgement delivered on Monday, the tribunal dismissed the petition brought by Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as lacking in merit.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Haruna Kereng, while reading the judgment, said that the petitioners completely failed to prove their allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.
Kereng said that allegations of substantial non-compliance to the Electoral Act, thuggery, falsification of figures needed to be proven polling unit by polling unit.
He said that the few polling unit witnesses brought by the petitioners failed to demonstrate to the tribunal how the election figures were falsified.
He said that out of the 824 polling units, 81 wards and five local government areas in the state, the petitioners were only able to present 16 witnesses with most of them presenting testimonies that were not convincing.
“INEC had declared Ekweremadu winner with 86,088 vote against 15,187 scored by Ibekaku-Nwagwu. It is the responsibility of the petitioners to bring their polling unit agents to demonstrate to us how over 70,000 vote will be deducted from the score of the first respondent to make them winners.
“They only presented witnesses in few polling units and wards,” he said.
Kereng said that the petitioners ought to have pleaded two sets of results, including the wrong and correct results that would have returned them as winners.
He said that certain paragraphs of their petition contained criminal allegations and that the persons whom the allegations were made against remained hidden.
“Having failed woefully to prove their allegations that the first respondent was not elected by majority of lawful vote cast, we, therefore, affirm the election of the first respondent as winner of the election,” he declared.
Kereng awarded a cost of N750,000 against the petitioners.
Reacting, counsel to the first respondent, Mrs. Justina Offiah (SAN), described the judgment as thorough, adding that all counsels in the matter had put in their best.
Offiah requested for a conservative cost against the petitioners to serve as a deterrent to election losers who would want to approach the tribunal with flimsy petitions.
However, counsel to the petitioners, Mr Patrick Luke, said that it was the constitutional right of those who are declared losers in an electoral process to seek redress in a court of law.
“It is my humble view that all the parties should bear their costs because all the parties incurred costs,” Luke added.
Court Stops INEC, Senate From Enforcing Judgment Sacking Ifeanyi Ubah As Senator
The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission and others from giving effect to the April 11, 2019 judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory ousting Ifeanyi Ubah as the Senator representing Anambra South.
The FCT High Court judge, Justice Bello Kawu, in a ruling, on January 17, 2019, declined Ubah’s request to set aside the earlier order issued in the earlier April 11, 2019 judgment.
S/Court Judgement: Mysterious Owl Attacks Gov Ortom Inside Church
Shortly after the Supreme Court of Nigeria affirmed the election of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, he was unexpectedly attacked at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Makurdi, by a mysterious owl.
According to Daily Post, Ortom was in the church for a special thanksgiving service, when the strange bird attacked.
An eyewitness, Prince Tordue Abe, narrated how the bird, on Tuesday night, found its way into the Church, the exact time the Governor was giving his testimonies and went straight to the altar where Ortom was kneeling down for his testimonies.
But for the prompt efforts of some youths, the night bird, which is superstitiously believed to be a witchcraft bird, would have landed on the Governor’s head.
“It happened few minutes ago while the Governor was on his kneels praying at the Redeemed Christian Church Makurdi.
“An Owl flew in and headed right towards the direction of the Governor. On sighting the Governor the owl bowed before the Governor and together we rushed and killed it.
“Whatever it was they planned against the Governor, the Holy Spirit brought it to a halt.
“Indeed Governor Ortom is not just a man of God but a powerful man of God,” Abe said.
The apex court had on Tuesday delivered judgement in an appeal brought before it by Barr. Emmanuel Jime of the All Progressive Congress (APC), challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal to have upheld the election of Ortom, who contested under the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9, 2019 guber election in Benue.
In a 30-second judgement delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuata, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the victory of Governor Ortom, saying, “The judgement of the Tribunal and Court of Appeal need not to be disturbed”.
Supreme Court Verdict On Imo: Jonathan, Wike Challenged For Keeping Mum
A group, PDP Renaissance, has challenged former President Goodluck Jonathan as well as the Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, to speak up against the recent Supreme Court’s judgment that sacked the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of Imo state, declaring Hope Uzodinma of the ruling All Progressive Congress Governor of Imo state.
The group, in a statement on Wednesday, said the continued silence of the two party leaders is unacceptable.
According to the group, the two party leaders must speak up against injustice meted on a fellow party member as silence would pass for patting the unjust doer on the back.
According to the statement, “Our attention has been drawn to the grave silence from former President Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers Governor Barr. Nyesom Wike on the controversial Supreme Court ruling that sacked the Imo state Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha for the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, Hope Uzodinma.
As leaders of political thought, we had expected former president Goodluck Jonathan and governor Nyesom Wike to condemn the judicial usurper that took place in Imo state that made our great party to lose a governor.
It is worthy of note that former President Jonathan has often been described as the true reflection of democracy in Nigeria and as such, we expected him to voice out his opinion on matters, such as this, which make mockery of our judiciary system.
Governor Nyesom Wike, we understand, is a supposed friend of the ousted governor Emeka Ihedioha.
Wike and Former President Jonathan’s silence in condemning this anti-democratic move by the APC through a well-orchestrated judicial manipulation to gift the APC candidate, Hope Uzodinma, votes that were never cast for him is not a welcome development.
It was Martin Luther King who once said: In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.
This is no time to play political correctness when we are faced with people that are determined to destroy our very sacred institution.
The Judiciary plays a very important role in every democratic society. The Judiciary ought to provide impartial adjudications of disputes between the state and individuals, between individuals, and between different levels of government within the state. If the Judiciary which serves as a foundation for the rule of law and democracy is destroyed and men of good conscience stay silent, then there is trouble.