APC rejects tribunal ruling on Ekweremadu’s victory, lawyers heads for Appeal
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the tribunal judgment which affirmed the election of Senator Ike Ekweremadu representing Enugu West Senatorial Zone.
The National Assembly/State Houses of Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu, on Monday dismissed the petition filed by the party and its candidate during the election, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu.
The three-man tribunal held that the former Deputy Senate President was elected with lawful valid votes cast during the February 23, 2019 elections.
Delivering its judgment, the tribunal, led by Hon. Justice H.H Kerang, held that there was an incurable deficit in the pleadings of the petitioners.
It had ruled that “the petition deserves no other thing rather than that of dismissal; the 1st Respondent was duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast. The petitioners failed to prove non-compliance.”
It declared that “the election and return of the 1st Respondent as the winner of the Enugu West Senatorial election is hereby upheld,” and awarded a cost of N250,000 each in favour of the three respondents against the petitioners.
Reacting, the chairman of the APC in Enugu State, Dr. Ben Nwoye, who was in the court, said it was highly disappointing.
Nwoye told journalists: “We are very disappointed by the tribunal’s decision; to say the least, the APC and its candidate are highly disappointed. We had a good case to prove all the allegations but it has taken a different turn.
“But as democrats, the lawyers will study the content of the judgment and we take it from there; but I want to assure you that this will not be the end.
“We are shocked that despite all the evidence presented, and all the grounds, we have this kind of outcome.”
He further stated: “It appears to be a preconceived judgement. On Saturday, we had the same thing; if you follow what the learned jurists considered to be proof of facts, it appears to have some preconceived rulings, that this is what they want to do, and they have gone on to follow it. What we have it what is called a template judgement, there has not been any deviation; the next one coming up, the template judgment will also be delivered, so we are highly disappointed.
“I commend our legal team, the effort of our candidates, because what it happening does not use to happen before. In Enugu State, once you lose election, it is just over, but this time around our party men and women are putting up a good fight; they took electoral fraud to court, that’s why I am in shock.
“People were calling election results even before collation; in Ogun State, APC had one of its election annulled before of premature announcement of results, but in Enugu State here where the election was also prematurely announced, the court has looked the other way, there was willful blindness on the part of the judiciary.
“But it does not encourage democracy; it does not encourage the assertion that democracy is the last hope of the common man.”
Similarly, the lawyer to the petitioner, Mr. Patrick Luke, said he already had the instructions of his client to appeal the judgment.
“We will pursue this to a logical conclusion; we still have the constitutional right to appeal further.
“I can confirm to you that the petitioners, we have their instructions to appeal this judgment. There are fundamental flaws on the judgement, especially on the issue of result dating,” he said
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