By Steve Oko, Umuahia
The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia Wednesday, affirmed the victory of the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe representing Abia South Senatorial district (PDP).
Senator Chris Nkwonta of the All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA had filed a petition against Abaribe’s victory alleging that the total number of votes credited to the PDP candidate was far higher than the number captured by the card reader.
But the three -man panel, in a unanimous Judgement, dissmised the petition for lack of merit.
The petition was also struck out on the ground that all the ward collation agents cross examined at the tribunal all agreed that their written deposition was based on what they were told, which the tribunal considered them as “hear say”
The tribunal in the judgment read by Hon Justice Wasiu Animahun, said some of the grounds the petitioner relied upon were conflicting and inconsistent.
According to the tribunal, “card reader can’t override the provision of the voters register in any election.”
The tribunal faulted the decision of the petitioner to rely on card reader accreditation.
On the issue of invalid accreditation and over voting, the court held that the petitioner failled to properly present the various scores by the candidates.
The court held there was a total of 1091 polling units within the Senatorial district, and
The tribunal further held that if the figure claimed by the petitioner as “over voting” was removed from the figure credited to Abaribe by INEC, he would have still maintained a resonable margin of lead over the petitioner with 5,788 votes.
The panel equally held that there was no provision for amendment of petitions as it was the duty of the lawyers to write the petition of his clients properly and also read it before bringing them to the tribunal.