The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state capital on Monday upheld the election of Governor David Umahi even as it struck out the suit filed by the People’s Democratic Movement (PDP) against the election.
The PDP had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court for allegedly excluding its name from the ballot box.
Joined in the suit were the Governor David Umahi, who won the election.
Umahi’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was also joined in the suit as the third respondent.
Umahi, it will be recalled, had won the March 9 governorship election in the state.
He defeated Senators Sunny Ogbuoji of the All Progressive Congress (APC), who placed second and 35 others to win a second term in office.
But the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and its candidate in the election Ajah Agha petitioned the Tribunal for what he termed unlawful exclusion of his name in INEC ballot paper.
The candidate and the PDM also prayed the tribunal to cancel the said election and order for the conduct of another one.
But in the tribunal in a one and half hour judgment struck out the case for lack of merit.
The sitting which took place at the state High Court premises had Justice A.B Abdukareem presiding.
Delivering Judgement on the tribunal sitting, which lasted for over three months on Monday, Justice Abdukareem said that PDM failed to proof that it conducted primaries in line with the provisions of the electoral acts.
The Tribunal also said that there was no evidence before it to show that the party submitted the name of their candidate to INEC before the deadline stipulated by INEC for parties to do so.
“Your party sent the name three days after closure of submission according to finding”
“Also your party did not organize primaries as to produce a candidate according to INECs guideline, therefore your petition lacks merit, the Tribunal said.
The member representing Ohaozara, Onicha and Ivo Federal Constituency, Livinus Makwe congratulated the Governor on the ruling.
He noted that the tribunal’s judgement which affirmed the victory of Ebonyi state Governor was a true reflection of the wishes of Ebonyi people which they demonstrated on the March 9, 2019 Governorship poll.
In a statement issued by his Media office in Abakaliki, the Lawmaker noted that he was not surprised about the governor’s victory owing to the general acceptance and popularity which Umahi’s administration is enjoying in the state.
He said that the petitioners decision to challenge the outcome of the election was a nullity as Umahi’s election was adjudged by all Observers to be credible, free and fair.
Mr Makwe also commended the Peoples Democractic Party and the entire people of Ebonyi state for their continuous support and cooperation with the present leadership in the state.