Peter Uzo, Owerri
THE Imo State Youths for Good Governance has described as misleading and untrue online report in a national daily which tend to rubbish the evidence adduced before the Imo State governorship Petition Tribunal by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Hope Uzodinma, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance and Ifeanyi Ararume of APGA.
In a statement signed by National Coordinator of ISYGG, Comrade Olemgbe Chike, it noted that “What was done last Sunday was adoption of the address of all the parties including Governor Emeka Ihedioha and the PDP, therefore, it will be wrong for the writer of such sensitive report to try and misinform Imo citizens who are praying the true winner of the governorship election in Imo be determined by the tribunal.
“At no point did the Tribunal on the said day rubbished the evidence brought forward by Senator Uzodinma, Uche Nwosu and Ararume. Rather the Tribunal took their final addresses where all the parties made efforts to buttress their points then informed the parties that they will be communicated date for judgment. We are aware that was masterminded by the PDP but they must not be allowed to misinform our people” it stated.
Recall however that “Uzodinma had approached the tribunal asking it to declare him the winner of the election after accusing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of excluding APC results in 388 polling units. The results he argued were declared at the polling units but were not collated at the ward levels. He opined that the declared results at the polling unit were in the form EC8A and were issued to the Petitioners agent but were completely omitted by the INEC during the declaration of the general results. His argument was that if the results are added by the tribunal, he will be defeating the PDP candidate Ihedioha with over 40,000 votes, therefore, urged the tribunal to declare him winner having polled majority of the valid votes.
After the governorship election in Imo state and the declaration of Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha of PDP as the winner of the election, Senator Hope Uzodinma of the APC, feeling aggrieved approached the governorship election tribunal of Imo state for redress over what the party in the state described as “THE THE ILLEGALITY OF THE IHEDIOHA MANDATE. To many in Imo who followed the governorship campaign of the APC candidate, it was unbelievable that the very popular two-time senator loved by many across zonal divide could come a distant 4th in a contest he was tipped to win. However, When the senator filed his petition, facts began to emerge as to what actually transpired during the Imo governorship election. In petition, no EPT/GOV/IM/8/2019, Uzodinma & APC Vs Hon Emeka Ihedioha, PDP & INEC, the senator sought the declaratory relief that he scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the election and satisfied the mandatory constitutional requirement of spread. He stated that the election was heavily manipulated by collation officers of Mbaise extraction allegedly recruited hurriedly by the INEC to conduct the election. He stated that the collation officers in an apparent scheme to undo him deliberately omitted to collate the result that emanated from 388 polling units where he scored high numbers. He stated that by that scheme, his votes from those unites were not added to the final score and asked the tribunal to add the figures which gave him a clear win in the election. During the trial, Senator Uzodinma and APC called polling unit agents, ward and local government collation agents as witnesses and tendered duplicate pink copies of the result of the election in the said 388 units.
Similarly, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Rabiu Huseini, who was in charge of Operations on the day of the election came to give evidence. On that very day, the legal fireworks were quite ferocious as the counsels to both the Ihedioha and the PDP objected to the evidence being tendered by the police. Olusola Oke (SAN) who led the onslaught on behalf of Uzodinma insisted that the police should be allowed to tender their evidence since security agents were part of those who conducted the election. The argument went on for over four hours before the tribunal ruled on the matter. However, the tribunal ordered that the police witness should go ahead and testify on his evidence before the tribunal. DCP Huseini, who testified, presented form EC8A which corroborated with the results earlier admitted by the tribunal as evidence brought before it is Senator Uzodinma. The results were admitted by the Tribunal. Saturday Vanguard observed that the admittance of the results by the tribunal elicited jubilation in the camp of the APC. The deputy commissioner of police in charge of operations during the election gave evidence in court and tendered copies of the result from the disputed units given to the police and which were similar to those tendered by the senator. The senator ended his case after calling 54 witnesses. Ihedioha and PDP called only 4 witnesses and could not tender their own copies of the disputed unit result which their four witnesses agreed were given to them at the polling units by presiding officers. The INEC did not tender any document at the trial to dispute the results tendered by Uzodinma.
On his part, Nwosu, candidate of the AA asked the tribunal to order for a re-run between him and the PDP candidate, saying that Ihedioha lacked the 2/3 spread in the state to the declared winner. He also argued that the INEC failed to order for a re-run election in 258 polling units were results were said to be cancelled by the INEC just as he urged the tribunal to cancel elections in Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise and Ezinihitte where it was alleged that over voting took place in these Local Governments in favour of the PDP.
The APGA candidate, Ararume wants the entire process cancelled due to what he described as alleged malpractices and ballot snatching. However, Saturday Vanguard observed that the PDP in the state is currently worried due to the evidence the APC and its candidate adduced before the tribunal. They became worried since the tribunal accepted in evidence the results of the 388 polling units allegedly omitted by the INEC when Ihedioha was declared a winner. Senator Uzodinma and his lead Counsel, Olusola Oke (SAN) tendered it before the Tribunal.
However, the PDP and Ihedioha made attempts to puncture the admitted results when they introduced form EC40G, incident forms against the 388 polling units results tendered by the police and Uzodinma. INEC claimed that the results in those contending units were cancelled but they were reminded by Oke (SAN) that INEC lacks the powers to cancel results already declared at the polling units.
With the heavy, undefended evidence adduced before the Imo governorship tribunal by Senator Uzodinma, the APC candidate, supporters of the party have been in joyous mood hoping that they gave enough evidence that will give the party victory at the Tribunal.