Six days to deadline, Anambra guber election petitions tribunal yet to receive petitions
BY SUNNY A. DAVID
Six days to the deadline of the time meant for the filing of petitions to challenge the outcome of the Anambra State Gubernatorial Election, the State Election Petitions Tribunal is yet to receive any petition.
According to the law, aggrieved candidates and their political parties have 21 days grace from the date of the declaration of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to file in petition.
The Returning Officer for the Anambra Governorship Election, Prof Florence Obi, had on the 10th of November declared Prof. Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) the winner of the election.
Barely three days after, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, Senator Andy Uba, and the candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr. Afam Umezeoke, indicated interest to challenge the outcome at the tribunal.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Tribunal, Barrister Surajo Gusau, said that the tribunal has not received any petition from any party or candidate.
The Secretary said the tribunal panel was set up immediately after the announcement of the result.
According to Barrister Gusau, as the Secretary of Panel, he reported a day after the declaration of the result, which indicated that the panel has been set up.
On the fears in some quarters that the Election Petitions Tribunal Panel may sit in Abuja instead of Awka owing to insecurity, he said that the venue of the panel can only be affected if there is an official letter to the President of the Appeal Court, Hon. Justice Monica B. Dongban-Mensem.
Barrister Gusau dismissed the report that once a petition or even a motion is filed in respect of the election, the panel would certainly come to Awka.
The Counsel to Mr. Umezeoke and National Vice Chairman South East of the party, Barrister Emeka Agbapuonwu, who spoke with reporters in Awka on Tuesday said there is still time to file their position.
According to him, he and his candidate have concluded all arrangements to file their petition and will meet up with the deadline.
Also a stalwart of the APC and member Andy Uba Campaign Organization, Prince Bounty Onuigbo, contended that there is nothing to fear, noting that his candidate would surely beat the deadline.
Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano on Political Matters, Barrister Ifeatu Obiokoye, said his party is ready to take on any petitioner headlong, adding that Soludo is not loosing sleep over it.
Barrister Obiokoye further noted that while awaiting the petition of Uba and the APC, people should not loose sight of a pending suit that is set for judgment challenging the candidacy of APC which was filed by one of the aspirants, Chief George Muoghalu.
The Special Adviser to the Governor said: “APC and Andy Uba should be more concerned about that pending suite at the federal High Court which the judgment would be delivered on or before December 20th and should the court grants the prayers of Chief George Muoghalu that said Uba was not the candidate of the party.
He added that no primary election was conducted in the party, he has no business being at the Election Petitions Tribunal.”