BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI,Abuja
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has fixed June 30 to determine whether or not it will cancel the by-election that was held in Delta Central Senatorial District on October 12, 2013, over alleged electoral fraud.
It was the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its candidate at the election, Mr. Oghenetega Emerhor that filed the case before the high court.
Joined as defendants in the suit were the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Specifically, the plaintiffs, alleged that PDP, connived with one Mr. Olawale Dawodu who is an official of INEC in Abuja, and smuggled in forged documents it said were relied upon to endorse the Nomination Form of Senator Edesiri Aguariavwodo who eventually won the election.
APC, alleged that in defiance to the time limit that was set by INEC for the submission of nomination forms, PDP, not only failed to meet up with the deadline, but bribed the INEC official to write a false date of receipt on the nomination form of its candidate.
Consequently, the plaintiffs, while contending that Senator Aguariavwodo of the PDP was not a valid candidate at the said election, applied for an order of the court, directing the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation, to forthwith, prosecute both the PDP, Senator Aguariavwodo and the accused INEC official, Mr Dawodu.
In a 20-paragraphed statement of claim filed in support of the suit, the plaintiffs, further told the court that the 1st defendant, Aguariavwodo’s nomination and C.F. 001 forms, were not submitted to the 3rd defendant (INEC) on the last day of submission of list which was September 26, 2013.
“1st defendant was not validly nominated by the 2nd defendant (PDP) to contest the by- election into the office of Senator for the Delta Central Senatorial District”.
“The plaintiffs aver that the failure of the 1st and 2nd defendants to submit the nomination and CF001 Forms of the 1st defendant to the 3rd defendant latest 26/9/2013 is vital and mandatory condition precedent to 1st defendant subsequent valid participation in the election.
Specifically, the plaintiffs among other things, prayed for a court order, “setting aside and directing INEC to immediately withdraw the certificate of return issued to the 1st defendant upon his purported declaration as the winner of the Senatorial bye election organized by the 3rd defendant into the office of Senator for the Delta Central Senatorial District on 12-10-2013 on the ground that the 1st defendant was not a candidate at the said election as the 1st defendant did not submit his nomination forms by 26-9-2013.
As well as, “An order directing the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation, to prosecute the 1st and 2nd defendants and Mr Olawale Dawodu an employee of the 3rd defendant for the offences of forgery and any other offences that may be disclosed by their actions, in that the b1st and 2nd defendants and Olawale Dowodu, between September 26 and October 12, at the 3rd defendants office at Abuja, made false documents in writing, knowing them to be false, with intent that they may be used or acted upon by 3rd defendant as genuine to the prejudice of 1st plaintiff and other candidates who contested the bye election of 12-10-2013 to wit, falsely endorsing on 1st defendant nomination form and affidavit in support of personal particulars of person seeking election form a false date of 26-9-2013, contrary to the content of the said documents.”
Meantime, following the adoption of final addresses by all the parties, Justice Evoh Chukwu adjourned the matter for judgment.