The Ebonyi State Election Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed a petition by the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA and its governorship candidate, Prof Benard Odoh, challenging the election of Francis Nwifuru as the governor of the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission /INEC, had declared Nwifuru of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the March 2023 governorship election in the State.
Not satisfied with the declaration, Professor Odoh approached the Court to overturn the Ebonyi governor’s election on the grounds of non-qualification.
Odoh had argued through his lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa /SAN, that Nwifuru, “who was until and after the election, a member of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly and also occupied the office of the Speaker of the House, under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party /PDP was not qualified to contest the election to the seat of Governor of Ebonyi State.”
Consequently, APGA and Odoh urged the Tribunal to nullify Mr Nwifuru’s victory on account of his non-qualification for the election.
However, delivering judgment on the petition, the three-member panel headed by Justice Lekan Ogunmoye, held that the petitioners lacked the locus standi to institute the action because the issue was an internal affair of the APC.
Meanwhile, Governor Nwifuru has extended the olive branch to the governorship candidates of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Ifeanyi Odii and the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA Prof. Benard Odoh in the March 18 polls, to halt further litigations against him and join hands with his administration to develop the state.
He made the appeal on Wednesday at his office in Abakaliki, while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the Ebonyi State Election Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, that reaffirmed his declaration by INEC as the duly elected Governor of the State.
The Tribunal on Wednesday, dismissed a petition by the All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA and its governorship candidate Prof Benard Odoh, and the PDP candidate Chief Odii, challenging the election of Nwifuru as governor.
He commended the tribunal judges for their forthrightness in dispensing justice based on the rule of law.
“This judgement by the tribunal is a victory for democracy, the court remains the last hope of the common man”, he noted.
He restated that he was not against anybody for instituting petition against his victory at the polls.
“I pleaded with the petitioners that contested election against me to come and let us work together.
I begged APGA and Prof. Benard Odoh, to join hands with me in developing the state. I pleaded with him not to proceed with more litigations, we are working day and night to deliver the much needed democratic dividends to our people.
“I equally urged the PDP Governorship candidate Chief Ifeanyi Odii, to bring his ideas and manifestoes so that we can build the state together”.
He commended his legal team lead by Ikpeazu, Roy Umahi, A. Ibrahim, and others for their ingenuity in protecting the course of justice.
The Independent National Electoral Commission /INEC, had declared Nwifuru of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the winner of the March 18th 2023 governorship election in the State.
Not satisfied with the declaration, Prof. Odoh and Chief Odii approached the tribunal to overturn the Ebonyi governor’s election on the grounds of non-qualification for election.
However, delivering judgement on the petition, the three-member panel headed by Justice Lekan Ogunmoye, held that the petitioners lacked the locus standi to institute the action.