Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Ifeanyi Ararume; Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA) on Sunday adopted their written addresses asking the court to nullify the election of Emeka Ihedioha as Imo State Governor.
The candidates and their parties approached the tribunal to challenge Ihedioha’s victory in the March 9 governorship election.
According to the petitioners, Section 179 of the Constitution says a winner must have the highest number of votes and also obtain the constitutional one quarter of the votes in at least two-thirds of the 27 local government areas of the state, a condition Ihedioha failed to meet.
At the adoption of their final addresses on Sunday, the petitioners said there were glaring evidences that Ihedioha did not win the March 9 election.
Araraume, in challenging the outcome of the election, said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Ihedioha winner in error because he didn’t meet the constitutional requirements.
He asked for an order to void the Certificate of Return issued to Ihedioha – on the grounds that there were massive irregularities in the election. He also averred, through his lawyers – Awa Kalu (SAN), Ahmed Raji (SAN), K.C Nwufo (SAN) and I. K Bawa (SAN) – that all the scores and votes from Ehime Mbano local government area and 17 others were unlawful.
According to him, there was unexplained change of electoral officers at the last minute by INEC, and massive hijacking and diversion of electoral materials.
Araraume and APGA asked the tribunal to nullify and set aside the March 9 election for being invalid and not complying with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the 1999 Constitution.
Uzodinma asked the tribunal to declare him winner of the election after accusing INEC of excluding APC results in 388 polling units.
The results, he said, were declared at the polling units but were not collated at the ward levels.
According to him the results at the polling unit were in form EC8A and were issued to the petitioner’s agent but were omitted by INEC during the declaration of general results.
He said if the results were added by the tribunal, he would defeat Ihedioha with over 40,000 votes.
Nwosu asked the tribunal to order a rerun between him and Ihedioha because the governor lacked the 2/3 spread in the state to be declared winner. He also argued that INEC failed to order a rerun in 258 polling units where results were said to have been cancelled by INEC.
But Ihedioha’s lawyer Onyechi Ikpeazu; INEC’s lawyer Eke Ejelam and PDP’s lawyer Ken Njemanze asked the panel to dismiss the petitions and uphold Ihedioha’s victory.
Uzodinma’s lawyer Olusola Oke said the code of Tribunal made it illegal for the tribunal to sit on a Sunday. He asked the tribunal to adopt Sunday as a sitting day as to legalise the day’s proceedings; the tribunal immediately adopted Sunday as a sitting day.
Oke, therefore, urged the tribunal to declare his client winner of the election.
Tribunal chairman Michael Adewara said the date of the judgments would be communicated to the parties.