By Wisdom Nwedene, Abakaliki
The Candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the just-concluded Governorship Election in Ebonyi State, Professor Benard Odoh has asked the Election Petition Tribunal in Abakaliki, the state capital to nullify the 2023 Governorship Election in the state.
Prof. Odoh noted that the candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Hon. Francis Ogbonnaya Nwifuru is still a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as at the time the election was conducted in Ebonyi State.
In the 37 pages of the election petition seen by our correspondent, Odoh further said that for a person to qualify to contest election for the office of Governor that he or she must be a member of apolitical party and be sponsored by that political party.
He said the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended do not permit any person who wishes or desires to contest election to the office of Governor of the States in Nigeria, including Ebonyi State, to belong to two political parties.
Odoh alleged that Nwifuru swore an oath when he was sacked as the Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly that he is a still a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and as such cannot be sponsored by the APC to contest for the office of the Governor in the state.
Odoh, therefore prayed to court to grant him the following requests;
A.That it maybe determined and be declared that at all material time
that the 3rd Respondent sponsored the 2nd Respondentas its Candidate and standard bearer in the Ebonyi State Governorship
election which held on the 18th day ofMarch 2023, the 2nd
Respondent was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party[PDP], a
political party distinct and different from the 3rd Respondent, and was
not qualified to be sponsored as the candidate of the 3rd Respondent
B.That it may be determined and declared that the 2nd Respondent was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the said election to the office of the Governor of Ebonyi State in the governorship election which held on the 18th day of March 2023 in that the 2nd Respondent presented to the 1st Respondent forged certificate.
C.An Order of this Hon.Tribunal nullifying the election to the office of the Governor of Ebonyi State held on the 18th March 2023.
D.An order for a second election pursuant to section179(3) and (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended
into the office of the Governor of Ebonyi State to be held between the Petitioner Shere in and the candidate who’s cored the highest number
of votes at the election held on the 18th of March 2023.
E.An Order of this Hon.Tribunal nullifying and or setting aside the Certificate of Return issued by the 1st Respondent to the 2nd Respondent. Dated this 5th day of April 2023.
Our correspondent had reported the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC, Francis Nwifuru, as the winner of 2023 Ebonyi state Governorship Election.
The Returning Officer for the election, Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Professor Charles Igwe, announced the results.
Prof. Igwe said Nwifuru, polled a total of One hundred and ninety-one thousand, one hundred and thirty one votes (199,131) votes to defeat his two closest rivals Ifeanyichukwu Odii of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Prof. Bernard Odoh of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.