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The Court of Appeal in Lagos has upheld the election of Francis Nwifuru, officially declaring him as the rightful Governor of Ebonyi State.
A three-man panel, in a Friday ruling, stated that the appeal brought forth by Ifeanyi Odii of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was without merit.
It’s worth recalling that the Ebonyi Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal had earlier confirmed the election victory of Nwifuru from the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the governor of the South Eastern state.
Nwifuru, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 18 election, polled 199, 131 votes to defeat Odii, who secured 80, 191 votes. While Bernard Odoh, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), came a distant third with 52, 189 votes.
Dissatisfied with the election outcome, Odoh and APGA filed the petition marked EPT/EB/GOV/01/2023 against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nwifuru and the APC.
They contended that the APC illegally nominated Nwifuru because he was still a member of the PDP as the speaker of the Ebonyi House of Assembly at the time of his nomination as his party’s flagbearer.
On Wednesday, the tribunal delivered its judgment, dismissing the petition filed by Odoh and APGA on the grounds that they lacked the necessary standing to challenge Nwifuru’s electoral victory.
In its decision, the three-member panel, under the leadership of Lekan Ogunmoye, declared that the matters raised by the petitioners were internal affairs of the APC.
It was held by the tribunal that APGA did not pursue an appeal against a federal high court judgment that affirmed Nwifuru’s move from PDP to APC.