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BY GREG IWU

The Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Owerri, has been on for some months with three governorship candidates in the March 9, 2019 governorship election seeking cancellation of the polls.

The three petitions were filed by Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, AA.

Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA wants the election annulled on the grounds that INEC declared Governor Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP in error.

According to him, Ihedioha did not satisfy the constitutional requirement which made it mandatory for a candidate in a governorship election to score 25 percent in two thirds of the State before he could be declared winner.

Governor Ihedioha who had to attend one of the court proceedings as at the time of filing this report is yet to kick start his defence against Uzodinma, Nwosu and Araraume as the time frame for the Justice Dogondaji led Tribunal to wind up draws near

Senator Hope Uzodinma, governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, wants the court to declare him winner on the grounds that results in some wards of the 27 local governments of Imo State were excluded by INEC. He had backed his claims by tendering some exhibits.

Uche Nwosu, the AA candidate is also seeking cancellation and a re run on the grounds that Ihedioha of the PDP was declared winner in error. His matter took a new dimension when counsel to PDP and Ihedioha raised questions on his eligibility as governorship candidate of the AA.

Witnesses testified in his favour at the Tribunal as the authentic governorship candidate of the party after the Supreme Court had also decided on the matter.

During one of the sittings, INEC was due to produce its star witness after Senator Ifeanyi Araraume had testified.

The three petitions were filed by Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, AA.

The Senator  had claimed that all the votes credited to Ihedioha in Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise and Ehime Mbano and in 17 other Local Governments were void and unlawful.

An INEC witness who was supposed to debunk Senator Araraume’s claims failed to show up after the Tribunal had given the Commission 24 hours grace to produce the witness after a plea by Counsel to the Commission, Aham Eke Ejelam (SAN).

Despite the extension of time, INEC failed to bring it’s witness in what has been described by legal analysts as an “abandonment of defence”

Governor Ihedioha who had to attend one of the court proceedings as at the time of filing this report is yet to kick start his defence against Uzodinma, Nwosu and Araraume as the time frame for the Justice Dogondaji led Tribunal to wind up draws near.

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