Ebonyi State Election Tribunal Dismisses APGA Petition Against Governor Nwifuru

Ebonyi State Election Tribunal Dismisses APGA Petition Against Governor Nwifuru

Ebonyi State Election Tribunal Dismisses APGA Petition Against Governor Nwifuru

The Ebonyi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, situated in Abuja, has issued its verdict on September 27, dismissing a petition filed by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and its governorship candidate, Prof. Benard Odoh, who were contesting the election of Governor Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State.

Jurisdictional Challenge

The Tribunal initially noted that the petition raised a pre-election matter, an issue outside its jurisdiction to determine.

Despite this, the Tribunal proceeded to examine the petition’s merits and ultimately dismissed it, finding it lacked merit.

The Membership Issue

In its ruling, the Tribunal clarified that it was not within the constitutional contemplation that the failure of the 2nd Respondent, Governor Nwifuru, to vacate his seat as Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly after switching from the PDP to the APC should prevent him from contesting the gubernatorial election on the APC platform.

Qualification and Membership

The Tribunal emphasized that the petitioners failed to demonstrate that the 2nd Respondent, Governor Nwifuru, was unqualified to participate in the Governorship Election.

Substantial evidence before the Tribunal confirmed that the 2nd Respondent had officially resigned his membership from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Limitations of the Tribunal

The Tribunal underscored that the petitioners did not approach the appropriate court to address the issue of political party membership.

Moreover, it highlighted the Tribunal’s inability to engage in matters preceding the election, emphasizing that only a primary election aspirant could challenge the membership of Governor Nwifuru.

Forgery Allegations Dismissed

The claim by the petitioners that Governor Nwifuru’s APC Form was forged was dismissed as it lacked supporting evidence.

Membership Confirmation

The Tribunal emphasized that when a political party forwards a candidate’s name to INEC, it signifies that the candidate is a bona fide member of the party.

The Tribunal referred to exhibit R5, which revealed the date of the 2nd Respondent’s defection from the PDP to the APC.

Conclusion and Striking Out of the Petition

In its final analysis, the Tribunal concluded that the only ground for disqualification was membership in the APC, a pre-election matter.

The petitioners, however, failed to substantiate their claims, leading to the dismissal of their petition. No cost order was issued in this regard.

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