Uche Nnaji, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for governor in Enugu State, has asked the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to recognize him as the legitimate winner of the March 18 governorship election.
Peter Mbah, Chijioke Edeoga, and Frank Nweke Jr., candidates for the state governorship in the Labour Party (LP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), respectively, were also requested to be disqualified by the court for not being eligible to run in the election by Nnaji.
The PDP won the race with 160,895 votes, placing the APC candidate in a distant fourth place with 14,575 votes.
At the conclusion of the tribunal’s first meeting in Enugu, Nnaji, speaking through his attorney Cosmas Enweluzo (SAN), claimed that if the votes given to the PDP, LP, and APGA were discounted, he would receive the most votes.
“Our prayers, among others, are to declare our candidate as the duly elected governor of Enugu State in the March 18 governorship election in Enugu. This is because the person declared, Peter Mbah of the PDP is not qualified to have contested this election in the first instance. Enweluzo said
He continue by saying “Also, the third and fourth respondents, Chijioke Edeoga and Frank Nweke Jnr, who contested on the platforms of Labour Party (LP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) respectively, were not members of the parties as of the time they emerged as candidates. Therefore, they were not qualified to contest the election in the first place.
“Now, when you jettison all the votes cast in their favour, APC candidate, Uche Nnaji, is the highest scorer in the election.
“However, if the tribunal is not minded to declare us duly elected governor of Enugu State, it should cancel the election and order INEC to conduct a fresh election between the APC and other parties that are qualified for the election. This is excluding the PDP, LP and APGA.”
Another development is that the tribunal has postponed hearing on the appeal submitted by Chijioke Edeoga, a contender for the LP governorship, until June 2.
Olajide Kumuyi, one of Edeoga’s attorneys, told reporters following the court session that the case could not continue since hearing sessions had not started yet because parties were still going through the filing process.
He stated that there were still applications awaiting a response.
The lawsuit attempting to delay Peter Mbah’s inauguration as governor on May 29 will be heard by the judiciary on May 23.
A party being sworn in in a case that is before the court would be considered an affront to justice, according to the petitioners and governorship candidates of the ADP and PRP.
According to established legal precedent, parties are required to maintain the status quo while a case is ongoing in court until it is resolved. This is what their attorney, Alex Amujiogu, told reporters.
It will be an affront to justice if a party is allowed to be sworn in while the matter is still in the tribunal.”