Tribunal rules on petition challenging Oduah’s election July 24

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The National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Awka, Anambra State, will rule on the petition challenging Senator Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra North) election on July 24.
Mr Dubem Obaze and his party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), had challenged the victory of Oduah on grounds of alleged electoral fraud on the March 28 polls.
When the matter was called up on Tuesday, counsel to the petitioner, Mr Chike Onyemenam (SAN), filed an application seeking to front load some voters’ registers used for the poll.
According to him, the 15 bags of voters’ registers were those used in Onitsha North, Onitsha South and Ogbaru Local Area of the state during the election.
He said that although, certification fee was paid to INEC nine days before filing the petition to produce the documents, the electoral commission only released them after 70 days.

While pleading with the tribunal to accept the documents as duly filed, Onyemenam argued that granting the application would be to the advantage of the respondents and the tribunal.

However, respondents’ counsel, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) for Oduah, Mr Osita Nnadi (SAN) for INEC and Mr Chuma Oguejifor for PDP, objected to the motion, saying that time had elapsed.

The respondents argued that since it was an election petition, the documents could not be front-loaded after 21 days.

“The petitioner should rather ask the tribunal for extension of time if he must tender the documents,” Nnadi argued.

Oguejiofor contended that based on Section 285 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010, the tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the application.

After hearing all arguments on the motion, the tribunal led by Justice Hezekiah Solanke, in its wisdom decided to adjourn the matter for ruling on whether or not to accept documents.

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