Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Owerri, Imo State, today, 17/06/2021, has delivered a final Judgment dismissing the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ‘s petition in a keenly contested Election Petition for the Imo North Senatorial District.
In Petition No: EPT/OW/SEN/3/2020: EMMANUEL OKEWULONU and PDP -V- APC & SENATOR FRANK IBEZIM, the Tribunal while considering the Preliminary Objection raised by All Progressives Congress, APC, & its candidate Senator Frank Ibezim, on the issue of whether the Petition is competent? held inter alia (among other things) that the Petitioners have no locus standi to challenge the nomination, sponsorship of candidates of another political party which is purely the internal affairs of APC.
It also held that the Petitioners’ Petition constitutes an abuse of the court process because it filed multiple Suits on the same pre-election matters at various courts and also included the same pre-election reliefs in their Petition before this Tribunal.
The Tribunal further that the Petition does not disclose any reasonable cause of Action. Additionally, the Tribunal held that it lacks the Jurisdiction to entertain parts of the Petition bordering on Primary Election.
The Preliminary Objection of APC and Distinguished Senator Ibezim therefore succeed and the PDP & its candidate, Emmanuel Okewulonu Petition is hereby struck out, the Tribunal held.
But, the Tribunal went into the merits of the Petition and further held while while dismissing the PDP Petition on the following grounds that: the Petitioners failed to plead and prove Scores and the name of the candidate declared and returned as the winner of the Election in accordance with the mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act, (An election Petition is meant to challenge the declaration and return of candidate return as the Winner); Petitioners’ failure to comply with the said provisions of the Electoral Act renders the Petition Incompetent.
However, on the issue of whether the Petitioners have proved their case before the Tribunal? The Tribunal held that the Petitioners have failed to discharge the evidential burden of proof because the two witnesses of the Petitioners gave a hearsay inadmissible evidence while the 3rd witness denied his own averments which was expunged.
The Petitioners failed to provide two different results in order to succeed which they failed to do.
The Tribunal adopted the Supreme Court Judgment/ Decision which confirmed Distinguished Senator Ibezim as the authentic candidate of APC.
It also held that the Petition lacks merit and thereby dismissed in it’s entirety and the cost of N500,000 awarded in favour of each of the Respondents against the Petitioners.
Recalled that yesterday, 16/06/2021, the Tribunal dismissed the other two Petitions brought by YPP and ADC against APC and its candidate Distinguished Senator Frank Ibezim.
With this Judgment today, the Landslide Victory of Distinguished Senator Frank Ibezim has been confirmed and reconfirmed by all the Courts and Election Petition Tribunal.