The legal battle over the Umuahia East state constituency seat election between Augustin Okezie Meregini, the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate and Hon. Chukwudi Apugo of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has intensified at the House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal Umuahia, with the petitioner (Meregini) telling the court how the PDP candidate (Apugo) altered the election results in some polling units in order to be declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
While testifying before the Tribunal, Meregini alleged that the results of five polling units in Ndume wards are different from what was announced by INEC. The petitioner detailed how the results were manipulated by the PO with the assistance of the first respondent. According to the petitioner, what the respondent did was to deflate his score in those five units, while retaining the PDP original score, thereby reducing his number of votes in the election.
The polling units where this manipulation allegedly took place were, Ibeku East 1 unit 002; Ibeku East 11 unit 010, Ndume unit 019; 016…that the petitioner is contesting that the results were changed. Based on this alleged manipulation by the PDP candidate, the petitioner is praying the Tribunal to nullify the election of Apugo and declare him the winner having scored the highest number of valid votes during the election.
Also the Tribunal admitted the exhibits tendered by the petitioner through his counsel, Hyacinth Okore Esq. The exhibits include certified true copy of the polling register, copy of INEC guidelines and regulations for conduct of the election, register for Ibeku east 1and other vital documents relating to the election.
When asked by the defence counsel if he can identify the people that changed the figures of the results as he alleged, the petitioner answered that it was the PO in collaboration with the respondent, according to the information made available to him by his agents.
However, the Tribunal protested that the petitioner is tendering his exhibits in piecemeal instead of frontloading them together as required by the law. To this the counsel to the petitioner replied that it is so because they applied to INEC for so many documents, some of which are still being processed.
The APC candidate’s petition it was learnt is putting the camp of Hon. Apugo in panic due to the evidence at his disposal. But supporters of the PDP candidate disclosed that there is no cause for alarm over the ongoing petition at the tribunal, insisting that Apugo won the election. The case was adjourned till July 8, 2019.