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Controversial Judgment: Ac, Ngige Calls For Sack Of Anambra Tribunal Members

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- HDP Set To Appeal Judgment
The Anambra state chapter of the Action Congress, AC has called for the sack of members of the Governorship election tribunal in the state led by Honolurable Justice Pius Damulak, insisting that a new panel be immediately constituted and members of the tribunal be stopped from further hearing matters pending at the tribunal.

Reacting to the yesterday's judgment by the tribunal which was delivered unanimously for the panel by one of its members, Justice PO Ige, the action congress in collaboration with the Ngige campaign management team condemned the judgment, saying that it is very curious.

AC wondered why the tribunal based its judgment on oral evidence and documentary together with the authority of other decided matters given earlier by court of superior courts only.

The party stated clearly that they have no confidence in the Justice Damulak led panel and citing cases of corrupt practices by judges especially in Damulak's Plateau home state. It called on the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon Justice Isa Salami to quickly constitute another panel and suspend the members from further hearing any matter that is pending at the tribunal.

Ngige's grouse could be said to be understandable, especially as the tribunal had yesterday ruled that the governor, Mr Peter Obi's election is upheld, on the basis that valid votes do not form part of the votes cast, while also averring that he met the constitutional requirement of one quarter of all the votes cast in two third of all the local governments in the state, the same flaw he was hoping to capitalize to pursue his own mater in the same tribunal.

Part of the AC press statement had read: “The only issue for determination in the HDP versus Obi matter is; whether or not Peter Obi secured 1\4 of all the votes cast in 2\3 of all the local governments in the state to be declared as duly elected governor in compliance with section 179 (2) b of the 1999 constitution and section 70 of the electoral act, 2006.

“It is trite for a tribunal or court of law to base its judgment on a case on the documentary or oral evidence together with the authority of decided cases on similar matters given by courts of superior record. The AC, Anambra chapter and majority of the citizens who were massively and willfully disenfranchised by a manipulated voters register by INEC are thoroughly shocked and disappointed that the tribunal gave the judgment in favour of Obi against the weight of evidence placed before it. The electorates have been waiting for the annulment of the pyrrhic victory and order of a second election with a new voters register.”

The party reminded Damulak of the and his panel members of what they termed miscarriage of justice and indeed travesty of justice in a macabre dance in Osun state election tribunal presided by Justice Naron who is from the same Plateau state Judiciary like Damulak, where as many as ten election petition determined there were remitted by the court of appeal for retrial, including Rauf Aregbesola against Oyinlola and Ayo Omidiran and Patricia Etteh.

They said that since the first relief sought by the HDP is in pari-materia with the first relief of other pending petitions in the tribunal, and because they have most surprisingly ruled in favour of Obi, that the Damulak led tribunal be excused from further participation and determination of all pending suit before it. They accused the tribunal of showing sympathy for the incumbent like the Justice Naron led tribunal in Osun state and ordered that they be disbanded like the former as Anambra people are now doubtful of them.”

Meanwhile, the Hope Democratic Party have stated that it would pursue the matter to appeal court, having not been satisfied by the judgment of the tribunal. Speaking through their counsel and deputy governorship candidate of the party, Mr. Mike Okoye yesterday after the delivery of judgment said that though the tribunal interpreted the constitution very well in the judgment, it failed to say how many valid votes Obi got to warrant his election being upheld.

He had right at the court room immediately after the judgment asked the Honourable Justices for the possibility of getting a copy of the judgment to facilitate his filing a matter at the appeal court.

In an unanimous judgment delivered on behalf of members of the tribunal by one of its members, Hon Justice PO Ige, a judgment which was read for seven uninterrupted hours at the tribunal yesterday, the panel had maintained that having secured the highest number of valid votes cast in the last February governorship election, Obi is deemed to have duly satisfied all constitutional and electoral act requirement, and as such his election upheld.

They also averred that Obi scored the mandatory 1\4 of all the votes cast in 2\3 of the local governments in the state, but Okoye is not happy that the actual figures Obi scored after the controversial invalid votes were deducted was not made known, nor was there a clear computation of how the supposedly valid votes summed up to 1\4 of 2\3 of the local governments in the state.

Reacting to the judgement, Gov. Obi thanked God immensely for his goodness to Anambra State. Obi also thanked the Tribunal Judges for their transparency and honesty.

Speaking further, he also confirmed that the cases at the tribunal and other courts are affecting his commitment to the effective and timorous delivery of the dividends of democracy to the people of the State and appealed to those still in court to withdraw in the interest of the progress and development of the State.

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