COURT OF APPEAL JUDGMENT ON ATHAN ACHONO Vs UWAJUMOGU

By Ismaila Azubuike chikanele, The Nigerian Voice, Abuja

The Court of Appeal Abuja Presided over by Justice Aboki on Thursday affirmed the decision of Election Petition Triburial which earlier upheld the election of Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu as a duly elected candidate for Imo North Senatorial District.

In an unanimous decision by 5-man Justices of the Court of Appeal Abuja all agreed with the lead judgment of Justice Aboki in his two hours rulling he delivered which stated that the Peoples Democratic Party candidate,Chief Athan Achonu was inconsistent on his line of augment in the appeal as there is no prove of evidence that any of the political parties or candidates that participated in both the election and the remaining supplementary electionto show that the election was manipulated.He said the appellant i.e. Chief Achonu was blowing “hot and cold” when he said the election did not hold.

The judge noted that since the Independent Electoral Commission noticed that election could not took place in some polling units in 64 electoral wards in Okigwe Senatorial District it is prematurely at that time to declare the result of the election, that INEC was right in conducting supplementary election to complete the remaining polling units.

Justice Aboki added that the only way to nullify an electron is to tender all the relevant and necessary documents asevidence and at the same time prove it, beyondreasonable doubt that the election was manipulated by the other parties.

He said Chief Athan Achonu could not prove his case that electron was manipulated in favour of Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu.

He opined that all the witnesses brought by Chief Achonu to prove his case none of them was able to testified that they saw the election been manipulated in favour of the second respondent Senator Uwajumogu, that the evidence appellant relied on only amount to hearsay in the eyes of the law and that is not admissible.

Justices Aboki further stressed that the appellant (Chief Athan Achonu) testified before the court that 34 polling units has issues of electoral manipulation by INEC officials, and some collection officers in favour of 2nd respondent Uwajumogu but all his witnesses testified that they did not saw or witnessed when the manipulation was taken place or saw an INEC official that is behind the manipulation of results, on this note, all the evidence of his witnesses fall short of what Chief Athan Achonu want to prove his case.

He added that from the evidence before the court if the 34 polling units the appellant claimed election was manipulated are removed from the total number of entire votes cast which Chief Athan also agreed that election was free and fair that the 2nd respondent Chief Benjamin Uwajumoyu would still win by wide margin.

On this note the judge said he has no doubt in his mind that the lower court was right in the earlier ruling and therefore dismissed the appeal in its entirety and said there is no order as cost.

In their responses before newsmen Chief Goddy Uche SAN counsel to APC said the Justices were right in the ruling and commended their effort in ensuring Justice.

Chief Okey Iheze counsel to Senator Ben Uwajumogu also agreed with the ruling of the Justices and described the judgment as the end of discussion.

Barrister P. Olajide counsel to INEC said he is happy that the Court of Appeal agreed that INEC has done well.Counsel to Senator Athan Achonu said he don’t want to comment on the ruling.

Senator Ben Uwajumogu during an interview with our correspondent stated that he is very happy and delighted over the judgment.

He said he thank God that the distractions from the tribunal to the appeal court is over that he can now fully concentrate in the remaining 2years to ensure that people of Okigwe Zone benefits in projects geared toward improving the lives of the ordinary people, mostly the youths in their numbers that are searching for jobs, he said through Agricultural Entrepreneurship in area of cassava farming and ginger as well as fishing production, many youths will engaged in Agricultural and stay at home at the same time make money for themselves and families.

He said there are a lot of arable land in Okikwe zone if well Utilize can create jobs. He is stressed, he is collaborating with the Federal Government and National Roots Crop Research Institute, College of Agriculture,Umudike to provide the required practical training for the youth to be technically sound in agriculture.

He said he will established a fish processing plant in Okikwe and presenting land clearing in Ihitte/Uboma and Ehime Mbano for agricultural purpose is on the way. He called on Chief Athan Achonu as a brother to work with him and cooperate to ensure the development of Imo North Senatorial District, that the victory is for all of them.

SOURCE: The Nigerian Voice (politics)