Anambra governorship petition: Obiano, INEC, Ngige, Nwoye agree, oppose application

Willie Obiano was declared winner of the Anambra governorship election.

The motion filed by Chike Obidigbo, a factional candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the 2013 Anambra governorship election, was on Friday opposed by the counsel representing Willie Obiano.

Mr. Obidigbo sought to be joined in the suit challenging Mr. Obiano’s victory at the governorship election.

Others who opposed the motion were the Independent Natonal Electoral Commission, INEC; the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Tony Nwoye; the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate, Chris Ngige.

The Justice Ishaq Bello-led Election Petitions Tribunal is sitting in Awka.

Counsel to Obidigbo, Oba Maduabuchi, had sought to join the factional candidate as a respondent in the petitions as well as an order directing the respondents to serve him with processes.

“We have sufficient interest in the petitions; we have by exhibits shown that the name of the applicant (Obidigbo) was submitted to INEC as a candidate in the election.

“The exhibits are judgments recognising Chief Maxi Okwu as the national chairman of APGA who duly nominated Obidigbo as the candidate of the party.”

In opposing the motion, however, counsel to Mr. Nwoye, George Igbokwe, told the tribunal that the application for joinder was self-defeating.

“This application, if granted, will invariably result to an amendment of our petition by virtue of the Electoral Act, 2010,” he said.

He contended that none of the exhibits presented by Mr. Maduabuchi declared Mr. Obidigbo as the winner of the said election.

Also opposing the motion, the counsel to INEC, Mathew Ugwuocha, said the commission’s list of candidate for the poll clearly stated Mr. Obiano’s name as the APGA candidate.

“As an umpire in the election, INEC has no dealing with the applicant; besides, form 001 was not submitted for or on behalf of the applicant in the election,” Mr. Ugwuocha argued.

The counsel to Mr. Obiano, Onyechi Ikpeazu, contended that the issue was not whether the applicant had an interest but whether he had a joinder within the circumscribed limit.

The counsel to Victor Umeh’s faction of APGA, Patrick Ikweto, said Mr. Obidigbo’s petition and the application for joinder amounted to abuse of court process.

“This application throws up the tribunal into determining an intra-party dispute which this court has no jurisdiction,” Mr. Ikweto added.

Bona Oraekwe, counsel to Mr. Ngige, urged the tribunal to dismiss the application on the ground that it would cause undue delay during hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

The counsel to the PDP, Clement Ezika, argued that the motion came 54 days after the stipulated 21 days, saying that the applicant would lose nothing if the motion was dismissed.

Responding, counsel to Mr. Obidigbo said he was yet to receive the counter affidavit and written addresses submitted by the various counsel, who opposed the motion.

The tribunal adjourned the matter till Feb. 17 for the parties to serve Mr. Maduabuchi with their counter affidavit and written addresses for his reply on points of law.

Messrs Ngige and Nwoye are challenging the victory of Mr. Obiano of APGA in the Anambra governorship poll.

NAN)


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