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Imo: INEC, PDP, Anyanwu Trade Blame Over Documents

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who is fielding Senator Samuel Anyanwu as their governorship candidate in Imo State, have traded accusations over alleged withholding of crucial documents related to the state’s governorship election scheduled for November 11, 2023, at the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja.


Governor Hope Uzodimma was proclaimed the election’s victor by INEC.


The results of the election that saw Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) win are being contested by the PDP and Anyanwu.


However, in response to the charge, the electoral body stated that the petitioners had not complied with the precedent-setting requirements outlined in Order 20 Rule 10 of the Federal High Court regulations and Section 253(2) of the Evidence Act.


Johnson Usman (SAN), the petitioners’ lead attorney, claimed that the electoral body had disregarded the court’s order by refusing to provide his clients with certain electoral materials, such as the voter registration, used in the November 11, 2023, gubernatorial election.


He informed the three-person tribunal presided over by Justice O. Akintan-Osadebay that the commission has not produced electoral materials since January 26, 2024, despite having received ₦5 million in processing fees from the petitioners.

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Usman further informed the panel that in addition to the ₦5 million processing charge, the petitioners paid a business center ₦4 million to photocopy the voter registration.


He bemoaned the fact that INEC had only supplied Certified True Copies (CTC) of the voter registration from seven of the state’s 27 local government areas.


In the meantime, documents representing every voting place throughout the state’s 27 local government districts were entered into evidence by the tribunal during its meeting yesterday.


Counsel for Johnson Usman (SAN), one of the petitioners, tendered the polling units.


Lead INEC attorney A.M. Aliyu (SAN) told the tribunal that although the Commission had certified the voter registration in seven of the 27 LGAs, the petitioners had declined to pick them up at its Owerri office in response to the alleged withholding of election materials.


Furthermore, Nwankwo Onyenyechi, a principal legal officer of the Commission, testified before the tribunal in support of the INEC subpoena that the petitioners had directed the business center to cease photocopying the voter registration in order for the commission to certify it later.


However, in each of these cases, the petitioners’ attorneys disagreed with INEC’s stance, arguing that the commission blatantly disregarded the court’s decision by refusing to provide them with access to the voter register even after they had paid the required amount.


The tribunal has postponed till Thursday, March 21st in order to allow the petitioners to wrap up their legal proceedings.


None of the other 15 candidates received 10,000 votes or more, according to the Commission.


Nonetheless, the PDP and Samuel Anyanwu, their candidate, had requested that the electoral body be subpoenaed to produce and offer some of the election-related materials in order to contest Governor Uzodimma’s victory at the tribunal.



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