The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia has dismissed the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last election, Chinenye Anyim, against the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and governor of Abia state, Okezie Ikpeazu, for negligence in prosecution on the part of the petitioners.
Counsels to the respondents to the petition, including Mr. Ikpeazu , the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had told the tribunal that neither the petitioner nor their counsels were in court even as there was no letter from either explaining their absence.
Citing relevant provisions of the electoral act, Livy Uzoukwu, the INEC counsel prayed the tribunal to apply the mandatory provisions of the relevant section of the law which he said mandated the tribunal to dismiss the petition because the petitioners failed to appear for the matter.
In his contribution, the counsel to PDP, Henry Balogu, observed that the petitioners and their counsels were in court on the last day of the adjournment and were quite aware of the day’s sitting but deliberately chose not to be in court and urged the tribunal to strike out the matter.
Also, counsel to the fifth and sixth respondents, Mike Onyeka, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition since it was clear that the petitioners had lost interest in the matter.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Usman Bwala, while dismissing the petition, cited relevant sections of the Electoral Act which he said the petitioner failed to comply with in the prosecution of the matter.
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