Ebonyi governorship tussle: PDP’smOdi rejects tribunal’s judgment, heads to Appeal Court

Mr Ifeanyi Odi, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 18, governorship election, has rejected the judgement of the Ebonyi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the victory of Governor Francis Nwifuru as winner.

A three-man panel of the Tribunal sitting in Abuja, led by Justice Lekan Ogunmoye, had in it’s judgment on Wednesday, dismissed the petition for being unmeritorious and for want of jurisdiction.

Giving the verdict, the panel held that the PDP and it’s candidate lacked the legal right to meddle into the internal affairs of the APC as it relates to nomination of candidate.

Besides, the panel held that since the issue of nomination and disqualification being pre-election matters ought to have been lodged and determined at the Federal High Court, and not at the Tribunal.

But reacting to the judgement, Ifeanyi Iboko, the counsel representing Ifeanyi Odi in the matter disclosed that they will be heading to the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of the Tribunal.

Idoko said the Tribunal erred in law when it held that the petitioner could not substantially adduce credible evidence to prove that he won the election.

Odi’s lawyer contended that one of the grounds of their appeal will be an bored on the fact that the APC did not properly nominate Mr Nwifuru to fly its flag at the polls.

More so, Idoko argued that in line with relevant portions of the Evidence Act, the tribunal did not do substantial justice when it failed to hold in the petitioner’s favour that the “membership
register (Enwanweigwe APC ward), did not come from proper custody as it ought to be certified if it came from INEC as required by the law.”

He further contended that the purported statements of the poll results from the polling unit in Ebonyi State Local Government Areas were not tendered by the polling unit agents and did not satisfy the condition in Section 137 of the Electoral Act 2022.

According to Idoko, “if we had won, they would have gone on appeal, and same with us.

“This is just the court of first instance, we have the Court of Appeal where we can seek redress by asking the appellate court to set aside the decision of the Tribunal.

“We will get the copy of the judgement, study it carefully, before heading to the Appeal Court,” Idoko said.

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