By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKAâ€”THE five-member Anambra Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Awka, yesterday dismissed the petition by the deputy governorship candidate of the Hope Democratic Party, HDP, in the February 6 election in the state, Mr. Mike Okoye for lack of merit.
The tribunal headed by Justice Pius Damulak, insisted on giving the ruling despite an earlier application by Okoye to discontinue with his motion, in which he is seeking to stop the swearing in of Governor Peter Obi and his Deputy, Mr. Emeka Sibeudu, tomorrow.
Though the parties to the suit completed their argument on Saturday and the tribunal reserved ruling for yesterday, Okoye later announced his intention to discontinue with the matter, saying that he was doing so because there were pressures from many Anambra people, urging him to withdraw the suit.
When the tribunal resumed sitting yesterday, Okoye informed the tribunal of his intention to discontinue with the matter, adding that the various parties had agreed that the matter be struck out to allow for the inauguration of Obi and his deputy without hindrance.
â€œAfter the last sitting, based on the greater interest of Anambra State, we decided to discontinue the motion for injunction restraining the swearing in of Obi. Our application for withdrawal had been served on all the parties and it is my humble submission that the tribunal strikes out the motion,â€ Okoye said.
Though counsel to Obi and his deputy, Mr. Theophine Oguji, welcomed the decision of the applicant, he urged the tribunal to dismiss the application outright, adding that he was opposed to the position of the applicant that the matter be merely struck out.
In a unanimous ruling read by a member of the tribunal, Justice P.O.Ige, the tribunal dismissed the motion without cost. He said that the tribunal chose to read its ruling since the parties did not agree on the issue.
After citing issues raised by Okoye in his affidavit, Justice Ige said that the tribunal has no right to grant an injunction since a certificate of return had already been issued to Obi by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
He described the issue as a completed act which cannot be challenged and subsequently dismissed the matter.
Okoye said he would not appeal against the ruling in the spirit of understanding already reached by parties.