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Imo West: Appeal Court Affirms Hope Uzodimma’s Election

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The Court of Appeal in Owerri had dismissed the petition filed by Osita Izunaso of the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the election of Senator Hope Uzodimma as the Senator representing Imo West in the April 11, 2015 National Assembly election.

The Appellate Court therefore affirmed the election of Uzodimma.

Izunaso had approached the Appeal Court to upturn the judgment of the National/State House of Assembly Election Tribunal in Owerri given by Justice Ali Garba from Yobe State which dismissed his case for lack of merit.

At the Tribunal, the 3-member panel in a unanimous decision held that Izunaso failed to prove that there were no elections in three Local Government Areas of the Senatorial District, namely; Oru-East, Oguta and Ohaji-Egbema and consequently threw out the matter.

The Tribunal relied on the uncontroverted evidence led by the respondents in proof of the election of April 11, 2015 and further held that the Petitioner failed to prove that the first respondent (Senator Hope Uzodimma) did not score the majority of the lawful votes cast in the election. 

It also held that the Izunaso failed to prove that he scored the majority of the lawful votes in the said election.

During the Tribunal trial, the parties testified and called witnesses which the Panel distilled the evidence presented before it by both parties and came to the conclusion that the evidence of the Respondents were more credible and accordingly confirmed the overwhelming victory of Senator Hope Uzodimma.

But undeterred, Izunaso took the matter to the Appeal Court which again dismissed the case and upheld the election of Uzodimma.

It would be recalled that the Petition by the APC Candidate was earlier dismissed before another Tribunal headed by Justice A. Y. Sanya which  held that the petitioner, Izunaso, abandoned his petition by failing to pay the appropriate filling fees for pre-hearing.

The tribunal therefore declared that for failing to pay the appropriate fees as required by law, Izunaso had abandoned his petition and that there was consequently no petition before the Tribunal.

However, Izunaso took the matter to the Appeal Court in Owerri, Imo State which ruled that the case should be heard on its merit. But again, he failed.

This would be the second time, Senator Hope Uzodimma would defeat Izunaso in the Senatorial Election but the latter would not let go until a judicial pronouncement.

Reacting to the ruling, an elated Senator Hope Uzodimma attributed the victory to the will of God and the overwhelming confidence his constituents repose in him.

He said that throughout the duration of the trial, he had absolute confidence in the judicial system and the will of God and most importantly, the firm conviction that the will of the people must prevail.

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