Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Imo State governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja has upheld the declaration of Emeka Ihedioha of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State.
The tribunal in a marathon judgment that lasted for several hours dismissed the multiple petitions challenging victory of Ihedioha for lacking in merit.
After reviewing the oral and documentary evidence placed before them, the Justice Umar Dogondayi-led, three-member panel held that the petitioners failed to prove their case.
Senator Uzodinma, had specifically asked the tribunal to declare him the rightful winner of the election, based on non-inclusion of results from 366 polling booths out of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) approved 388 booths in the state.
Uzodinma called in 54 witnesses to prove his case of non-collation of results of some wards.
But in the unanimous judgment, the tribunal held that Uzodinma failure to call relevant witnesses was fatal to the petition.
The tribunal in addition held that the petitioners also fail to specify areas where elections were cancelled or did not take place.
Consequently, the tribunal expunge a large chunk of the evidence of the witnesses for being hearsay and wrongly admitted in evidence by the tribunal.
“Failure to discharge the heavy burden of proof makes the petition liable for dismissal and it is accordingly dismissed,” Justice Dogondaji held.