The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which is now convening at Abuja’s prestigious National Judicial Institute (NJI), has given a crucial judgment. The tribunal has decided not to deliberate on the appeal filed by Benard Ifeanyi Odoh, a prominent All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate.
Odoh has publicly challenged Governor Francis Nwifuru’s announced victory in the highly anticipated governorship election in Ebonyi State on March 18, 2023.
A significant announcement has been delivered by a three-member tribunal bench chaired by Justice Adekanye Lekan Ogunmoye. According to the panel, the long-awaited judgment date will be informed to the lawyers representing all parties involved in this matter. In the ongoing legal actions, this decision is significant.
Mr. Odoh, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), recently achieved an important stride in his legal battle. His legal lawyer, Mr. Jibrin S. Okutepa, has issued a lengthy final written address of 104 paragraphs. This crucial document was handed to the governorship election petition panel in July.
Okutepa’s petition claims are based on Section 177 (c) of the 1999 Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution (as amended).
Okutepa presented a single issue for resolution in a recent court session. The issue was whether Nwifuru, the second respondent, was eligible to run in the election. The second respondent, according to Okutepa, was a member of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly and served as Speaker on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform. The petitioners contend, however, that the second respondent was unable to run for Governor of Ebonyi State in the first respondent’s election on March 18, 2023. According to the petitioners, the second respondent was incorrectly deemed the elected candidate.
The individual stressed the importance of the major evidence offered to substantiate the charges in a press statement. This evidence contained a range of documents classified as Exhibit P1-P9 in compliance with the provisions of the Evidence Act. Okutepa, a significant player in the ongoing dispute, has stressed the importance of Exhibit R6. This significant piece of evidence was presented during the testimony of the second Respondent’s witness, lending support to the previously disclosed assertions.
The counsels for the second and third Respondents, Onyechi Ikpeazu and A. A. Ibrahim, SAN, unexpectedly mounted the platform and gave their closing arguments. The audience gasped as they asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition with conviction.
In a recent development, Governor Ikpeazu has expressed strong opposition to utilizing a void ruling to launch a legal battle. He noted the obvious jurisdictional limitations of such an action.
Ibrahim has reacted to the petitioner’s charges in a new development. Using Section 176(2) of the Electoral Act, Ibrahim declared unequivocally that the petitioner’s claims are lacking relevant proof to corroborate the forgery allegations.
Justice Ogunmoye apologized lately for the unexpected change in the adoption date. The adoption proceedings, which were supposed to start on Monday, have now been pushed back to today, Friday. Justice Ogunmoye ascribed this decision to numerous airline flight interruptions.