By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA â€” THERE was a mild drama at the Anambra State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka yesterday, when the counsel to the Hope Democratic Party, HDP, Mr. Mike Okoye, made a u-turn over his earlier application to withdraw the petition filed by the party against Governor Peter Obi, who was declared winner of the 6 February 2010, governorship election in Anambra State.
Before Obi was sworn in on March 17, Okoye, who was the Deputy Governorship candidate of HDP, had filed a petition against the victory of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, candidate and also sought an injunction to stop the swearing in of the Governor, pending the determination of his motion on notice.
However, few hours to the swearing in, Okoye announced that due to pressures from many prominent Anambra people, he decided to withdraw the petition against the Governor to pave way for the swearing in to take place. As a result, it was thought that HDP no longer has a case at the tribunal.
But many lawyers and party supporters present at the sitting of the tribunal yesterday, expressed surprise when Okoye informed members of the tribunal that he had decided to abandon his earlier application to withdraw the petition due to what he described asÂ breakdown in the settlement with the Governorâ€™s men.
According to him, other parties to the petition were conscious of the fact that settlement broke down, adding that he was no longer interested in abandoning the petition.
â€œI am informing this tribunal that I am not going to move the motion to withdraw the application. By virtue of our pre-information sheet, paragraph 14, we had indicated that we do not intend to take any application on the matter since such applications can only be heard at pre-hearing session.
â€œSince some of the respondents have not filed counter affidavit as prescribed by law, I submit that the application for withdrawal has been abandoned by the petitioner. By the provisions of the law, all the parties must agree with the conditions stipulated and since election petition is sui generies, IÂ ask that the application for withdrawal be struck out,â€ Okoye told the tribunal.