PDP denies own ‘candidate’ at Reps election tribunal
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has admitted that its candidate’s name was never published ahead this year’s election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Njikoka/Anaocha/Dunukofia Federal Constituency seat of Anambra State.
This clarification was made before the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal One, sitting in Awka, by Ntiham Niam, a top administrative officer at the PDP headquarters, while giving evidence as a defence witness in a petition by the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Dozie Nwankwo, during cross-examination by the lead prosecution Counsel, Dr. Kayode Fatoke.
Nwankwo is challenging the declaration of PDP’s Valentine Ayika as winner of the poll, instead of himself, by insisting that Ayika was never a candidate of any political party.
Ayika, in his evidence-in-chief, while reading out the copy of PDP National Assembly Primaries Appeal Panel’s report, stated that the primary contest was won fair and square by Dr. Richard Egenti for the constituency, not himself.
The panel report read that at the end of the primary election when the committee that organised and supervised it had concluded counting and recording proceedings and was about to announce Egenti as winner, “Ayika connived with the Returning Officer and ran away with the result.”
Ayika told the tribunal that he was aware that Egenti went to court over the matter and that the PDP appeal panel recommended that Egenti’s name be restored and forwarded to INEC, but that was curiously not done; hence several lawsuits up to Supreme Court.
Ayika admitted that his name was not listed in the Supreme Court judgment, which he has been laying claim to, because he was not joined in the suit.
While being cross-examined by the INEC lawyer, E.E. Udeh, who earlier claimed his name was published by INEC as a candidate, Ayika admitted that he got to know his name wasn’t in the list used for the election only on the actual day of the election.
There was also a mild drama when the visibly incensed Ayika looked at a copy of a document (receipt) he earlier tendered and vehemently denied its origin and genuineness. This got both the prosecution and defence Counsel tensed up, as the court became charged. It took the intervention of the chairman of the tribunal to calm him down before he looked at the document again and acknowledged it to be his receipt, blaming poor eyesight for the initial denial.
With the conclusion of presentation of witnesses with Ayika as star defence witness, the proceedings wounded up.
The respondent was given up to July 25 to file final defence address, while the prosecution was given till August 1 to respond.
Adoption/argument of final addresses was fixed for August 3.
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