Chike Obidigbo claims he was the true candidate of APGA in the election
The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Awka has fixed February 13 for ruling on a motion seeking to strike out Chike Obidigbo’s petition against Willie Obiano.
When the matter was called up in Awka on Tuesday, the counsel to INEC, Adegboyega Awomolo, moved a motion urging the tribunal to strike out the petition.
Mr. Awomolo argued that as at the date of the election, Mr. Obiano’s name was the only one representing the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, on the list of governorship candidates.
According to him, the proper forum to determine the candidate of APGA, which is a pre-election matter, is at the Court of Appeal, Enugu where a matter is still pending.
In their separate submissions, both the counsel to Victor Umeh’s faction of APGA, Patrick Ikweto, and that of Mr. Obiano, Onyechi Ikpeazu, did not oppose the motion.
However, in opposing the motion, the counsel to Mr. Obidigbo and Maxi Okwu’s faction of APGA, Oba Maduabuchi, urged the tribunal to dismiss the application for lack of merit.
“Whether the petitioner is qualified or not is the main issue which cannot be determined at this stage,” he said.
The tribunal led by Justice Ishaq Bello adjourned till February 13 for ruling.
Similarly, the tribunal adjourned till Feb. 14 to enable Mr. Maduabuchi to reply to a motion filed by Mr. Ikweto which sought to strike out the name of APGA as the second petitioner in the suit filed by Mr. Obidigbo against Mr. Obiano.
Two motions in the petition filed by Chris Ngige against INEC, Mr. Obiano and APGA were also deferred to Feb. 12 for hearing. Mr. Ngige was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the election.
The tribunal also adjourned the petition between the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and INEC and 25 others till Wednesday for hearing on a motion for consolidation.
Justice Ishaq commended the cooperation and sense of maturity exhibited by the lawyers, urging them to ensure continuity of such cooperation till the end.
He also assured them that the tribunal would de-emphasise striking out petitions on grounds of technicality.