HomePoliticsUmahi Affirmed By Tribunal As Ebonyi South Senator

Umahi Affirmed By Tribunal As Ebonyi South Senator

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The former Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi has been affirmed the election of as Senator for Ebonyi South Senatorial zone by the Ebonyi Election Petitions Tribunal. 

The Eastern Updates reports that Umahi, who is now the Minister of Works, defeated Mr Linus Okorie, of Labour Party and Senator Ama Nnachi of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) to clinch the position in March.

However Senator Nnachi and Mr Okorie challenged the results in separate suits at the tribunal.

In its ruling, the Tribunal noted Nnachi and his party, PDP anchored on the ground of non-compliance to the electoral law.

It however ruled that they petitioners failed to prove their allegation of illegal cancellation of results with a view to falsify the results.

They also failed to prove that voters were disenfranchised as there was no eye-witness report adding that he documents were dumped on the court.

‘They failed to plead and tender voters register, no of PVCs collected and call voters who were disenfranchised to give evidence’

‘They also failed to prove their allegation of over-voting. They didn’t tender the BVAs Report, voter’s register in prove of their case’, the Tribunal said.

Read Also: Umahi Will Revolutionize Our Road Infrastructure —Ugochinyere

The Tribunal further stated that the complaint of the Petitioners in 68 out of over 800 polling units in Ebonyi South Senatorial District does not substantially affect the result and return of the 2nd Respondent(Umahi).

The court would therefore not invalidate the return of 2nd Respondent on said basis.

‘In the final analysis, The Petitioners failed to prove their ground of petition, therefore it is lacking in merit and same is dismissed with Cost of N200,000 in favour of the Respondents against the Petitioners’, the Tribunal added

On the petition by Mr Okorie, the court ruled that the Petitioners failed to prove that the 2nd Respondent was not elected by majority of lawful votes.

“They also failed to prove that the principle of margin of votes was applicable to the Petition. They failed to prove that the total number of PVCs collected in polling units were elections allegedly did not hold was more than the difference between the 1st Petitioner and 2nd Respondent.

“The Petitioners did not discharge the burden placed on them by the law, their case therefore fails”, the tribunal ruled

It further awarded cost of N200,000 awarded against the Petitioners in favour of the Respondents.

Reacting, Okorie disagreed with the ruling of the Tribunal adding that it neither served justice, reflected evidences presented, the electoral law nor the expressed will of the electorates of Ebonyi South.

He said: ‘I have received the decision of the Election  Petition Tribunal to dismiss my petition challenging the wrongful return of, the now Minister of Works, David Nweze Umahi; as the Senator representing Ebonyi South District in the 2023 general elections. I disagree with that decision, even as I respect it.

‘The minimum expected justice, in the circumstances of that election, was to declare it inconclusive and order a supplementary election in, at least, the 16 polling units with over 10,000 collected PVCs where no elections held/results were not collated; in an election with a declared winning figure (margin of lead) of 2,882! Similar decisions abound from other tribunals across the country’.

‘Whatever motivated the tribunal to so flagrantly ignore the weighty evidences before it, especially Certified True Copies of INEC results and the unambiguous provisions of section 137 of the Electoral Act 2022 in the circumstance, is best known to them”, he said

He noted that the final decision on the matter does not lie with the tribunal but with the Court of Appeal.

‘At stake is the growth and development of our democracy as typified by the freely expressed choice of the people. Accordingly, I shall not relent until the sacred will of the people prevails’

‘I wish to salute the doggedness and sacrifice of the people of Ebonyi South who have remained steadfast in the pursuit of their mandate.

‘While I weep for democracy in Nigeria, I refuse to give up on her; all the same. I urge you not to give up too. I know that this is a tall order given the recent outcome of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal; which has demoralized many’, he said

He explained that he has mandated his lawyers to appeal the judgement.

The Eastern Updates

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