…God will restore my mandate- Onwuneme
By NewsCritic reporters
The Governorship and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia has slated for definite hearing the election petition dispute between Mr Nwabueze Onwuneme of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Hon Kelechi Onuzuruike of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, over the Ohuhu state constituency seat election.
Hon Onuzurike, who was declared winner of the Ohuhu state constituency seat election for a second term by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was dragged to the Tribunal by the APC candidate who alleged that the PDP candidate did not win the election, but was declared winner. He claimed that his votes were cancelled to enable INEC announce Onuzuruike winner with less than 24 votes margin.
Earlier, the House of Assembly Petition Tribunal Umuahia struck out the APC candidate’s petition on technicality, but upon appeal the matter was returned to the Tribunal and fixed for definite hearing day to day.
The Governorship Election Petition panel is handling the case and hearing will commence on Monday, September 2, 2019.
During sitting on Thursday August 29, the petitioners counsel, Barr N. Nwankwo said he want the three-man panel to resolve the issues arising from this petition. He said that none of the grounds upon which the respondents want the petition dismissed is sustainable under the law. The petitioners counsel told the panel that the issue of non-compliance raised by the respondent is funny and strange. That he (petitioner) did not indicate his National Identity Card, NIC, number is alien, adding that he stands on the legal practitioners’ act.
The petitioner indicated to call 11 witnesses, while the respondents have 19 witnesses to call. The panel gave each parties two days to present their case. The panel also held that any objection will be heard on the judgement day. During hearing each parties have 10 minutes for cross examination, and three minutes for re-examination, according to the tribunal which has less than a month left to conclude all matters relating to election petitions.
In a chat with the NewsCritic online at the end of the session, the APC candidate, Onwwuneme said he is confident that God will restore his mandate through the tribunal. He maintained that he won the Umuahia North state constituency seat, but was denied his victory, explaining that he has passed through difficult moments running back and forth to ensure that he gets justice.