Reps Poll Tribunal: INEC Denies PDP “Candidate”
Insists party presented no candidate in Anaocha/Njikoka/Dunukofia Constituency poll Closes case abruptly From Chuks Collins, Awka
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) in Anambra State has told the National Assembly Elections petitions panel One sitting in Awka that the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) had no candidate in the Feb 23,2019 election in the Njikoka/Anaocha/Dunukofia Federal Constituency of the State.
A Senior Officer of the Commission, Mr Ifeanyi Ogbonna who was the Electoral Officer (EO) in charge of Njikoka Council gave the evidence during the hearing of the petition by Hon Dozie Nwankwo (All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA)who objected to the declaration of Hon Valentine Anyika(PDP) as winner of the election instead of himself.
Ogbonna who was the star witness of the INEC during a cross examination by Dr Kayode Fatoke(SAN), lead counsel to Nwankwo when presented with one of the documents marked Exhibit PF-3 which was the final list of candidates for the relevant Federal Constituency poll pointed out that it was the one INEC used for the Feb 23,2019 election.
It was noted that irrespective of any other documents being thrown around, that Anyika’s name was not on any of the papers. That instead, in the column where name for the PDP candidate ought to appear it was marked “Court Order, party yet to submit candidate”.
Unequivocally, the witness said without mincing words that it was the list of names on that Exhibit PF -3 that INEC used in the conduct of Njikoka/Anaocha/Dunukofia Federal House of Representatives poll on that Feb 23,2019 and that upto the point of collation of results the PDP had no candidate.
Immediately after, the INEC counsel -Mr E.E Udeh called off presentation of more witnesses. He told the tribunal that after two days of frantic efforts to get the remaining two witnesses “but encountered so many challenges and difficulties”. He therefore opted to close the case at that point.
Another witness, Mrs Florence Egbuagwu a business woman from Ukpo in Dunukofia Council who claimed she is the PDP Woman Leader and foundation member of the party in the area said she played no other role for the party or their candidate on the voting day other than voting and hanging around the booth.
Having claimed she went and saw Ayika’s name displayed as candidate at INEC office, when Sir N. A. Onyejiaka counsel to PDP introduced her, buckled when Dr Fatoke confronted her with her earlier written testimony. That there was nowhere she admitted ever going to INEC office whether at the Council or State headquarters in Awka. She acknowledged being aware that Dr Richard Egenti took the PDP to a FCT High Court and Court of Appeal because he won the party primary but was denied. That he even won the appeal of the party’s primary appeal panel, yet his name was not forwarded to INEC.
Mrs Egbuagwu said she didn’t know that Dr Egenti won the suits at the High Court and at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division and that she wasn’t there when the party’s candidate list was submitted. More witnesses have been lined up for continuation of the proceedings.