By Francis Igata
ENUGU—Former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Change, PDC, for Enugu-East senatorial district election last March 28, yesterday, asked the Appeal Court,Enugu Division, to declare him winner, contrary to the verdict of the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal which ordered a fresh election.
In a cross appeal brought before the three-man Justices of Appeal Court led by Justice A.D Yahaya, Counsel to Nnamani, Ricky Tarfa, SAN, prayed the appellate court to outrightly declare Nnamani winner since the evidence of PW5 (Forensic Data Analyst) was relied upon by the lower court to establish wide spread irregularities that substantially marred the election.
“Since the evidence of PW5 was relied upon to order fresh election by the lower court, we urge your lordships to declare Nnamani winner having established irregularities of over voting, mutilation of results to the detriment of his (Nnamani) result,” Tarfa urged the panel.
Counsel to Senator Gil Nnaji, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Patrick Ikwueto, SAN, who appealed the judgment of the tribunal, urged the court to dismiss the evidence of the PW5 and set aside the tribunal judgment since the irregularities were not substantial enough to void the outcome of the poll.
It would be recalled that the tribunal, led by Justice A. O. Adewara of the Kwara High Court sitting in Enugu, had last October 13, ordered a fresh election of the Enugu-East senatorial district within 90 days following substantial irregularities wherein the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, allegedly colluded with PDP to inflate results that gave Nnaji victory.
The Appeal Court however reserved judgment to a date that will be communicated to parties to the suit even as the life of the appeal court will elapse on December 9, following the 60 days duration prescribed by the Electoral Act 2010 amended which starts running from the day of the Tribunal’s judgment.