Nweke withdraws her petition against Gov. Mbah in Enugu because INEC insists on free and fair elections

Jul 18, 2023 | 2023 Elections | 0 comments

Mr. Frank Nweke Jr., the All Progressives Grand Alliance (A.P.G.A.) gubernatorial candidate in the 18 March 2023 governorship election in Enugu State, has withdrawn his suit against the winner, Dr. Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

On Sunday, the I.N.E.C. declared the Enugu State gubernatorial election free and fair.

The Labour Party, another petitioner and opposition party, concluded its case before the tribunal but requested B.V.A.S. for polling units in Igboeze North L.G.A. instead of Ugwawka and Owo in Nkanu East L.G.A.

On Sunday, Nweke’s attorney, R.A.C.E. Achara, confirmed the petition’s withdrawal before the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. Nweke finished third in the gubernatorial race with 17,983 votes to Mbah’s 160,895.

Achara stated that withdrawing the 11 April 2023 petition was necessary to ease the tribunal’s burden.

The panel agreed and rejected the petition.

Dr. Chukwuemeka Chukwu, I.N.E.C.’s Enugu State R.E.C., informed the tribunal during cross-examination that the election was free, fair, and credible.

The R.E.C., represented by Enugu Public Relations Officer Victor Ezeokafor, further revealed that the Commission provided certified True Copies of election records sought by the Labour Party.

He stated those who were not freed were not prayed for.

The court demanded B.V.A.S. machines from the election board.

“According to the list in the subpoena, we were ordered to present five B.V.A.S., and I am here with the five B.V.A.S.,” he stated.

Asked whether he had the B.V.A.S. for Owo and Ugbawka I Registration Areas of Nkanu East L.G.A., the R.E.C. stated that codes indicated INEC BVAS and that I.N.E.C. delivered all the B.V.A.S. machines for the Codes specified in the court order. The electoral authority answers only to Codes, not names.

“It is because he (The Petitioners’ counsel) did not call out any code numbers, the B.V.A.S. devices I have here are the five code numbers stated in the subpoena,” he said when pressed.

The I.N.E.C. spokesperson in Enugu reiterated that the Governorship Election was free and fair.

The tribunal informed the petitioners that the court could not approve pleas, such as B.V.A.S. machines not being requested.

After the sitting, Counsel to Dr Peter Mbah and 2nd respondent, Alex Iziyon, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), told journalists: “What happened in court today is that the petitioners brought in their remaining witnesses, and the court also asked I.N.E.C. to bring some B.V.A.S. machines, which were brought and tendered.

“R.E.C. also told us that the election proceeded properly and quietly.

The Labour Party concluded their case after bringing five B.V.A.S. machines, while there were over 4,000 polling units in Enugu State.

He said the petitioner requested just one polling unit, which was presented to the court regarding the Subpoena on Owo and Ugbawka in Nkanu East Local Government.

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