Igbo political stakeholders, including the President, the Court of Appeal, and the Imo Election Petition Tribunal Judges, have been praised for their decision to move the tribunal’s meeting from Owerri to Nasarawa State.
The National/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting at the old High Court premises, Owerri, Imo State capital, at the weekend, relocated to the High Court complex, opposite Shopping Malls, Mararaba in Nasarawa State.
The Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Owerri branch, Daniel Odiba, who disclosed this in a statement, said:
“This is to notify all lawyers, litigants and the general public that the National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, Owerri, Imo State, has been relocated to the High Court Complex, Opposite Shopping Malls, Mararaba Nyanya, Nasarawa State.”
Reacting to the development in a statement issued on Tuesday and made available to our correspondent in Abuja, the leader of the Forum, Sam Nwandu, expressed optimism that with the relocation, the Tribunal will now have the atmosphere to look into the issues in contest.
The statement reads in part: “With this relocation, we believe that it will give the judges the right atmosphere to look into how election results above Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, were announced by the electoral body, INEC. Most of the actual results of the February 25th House of Reps, Senate and House of Assembly election of March 18, were in no doubt contrary to original results as voted by the indigenes in that election.
“INEC BVAS was active during the February 25 and March 18 State Assembly election, including the supplementary election and going by the uploaded results through IREV, what INEC declared was in complete variance with the uploaded figures by BVAS.
“For instance, in Okigwe Federal Constituency, the total accreditation uploaded in the INEC BVAS machine was not the same as the huge figures of over 40,000 used in declaring APC winner against the Labour Party that won the election. In Owerri Municipal where less than 14,000 was accredited, over 70,000 was used to declare APC winner against the Labour Party candidate.
“In the State Assembly seat for Ideato North Local Government, the PDP scored 5,063 votes as against the APC of 4,097 votes and the result was uploaded on the INEC server but APC was declared the winner against the PDP candidate who won the election with figures above INEC accreditation record. In Mbaitolu Federal Constituency figures were also manipulated to declare the APC winner in a supplementary election they lost.
“In Oguta/Ohaji/Oru West Federal Constituency that PDP candidate Kingsley Uju was leading despite being arrested on the election day, APC was declared winner with election figures above the BVAS recorded accreditation figures. In Orlu Federal Constituency which was lost by APC, figures above accreditation numbers were used to declare the APC winner.
“In Okigwe Senate and Orlu Senate, results were announced for APC with manufactured figures above the total number of votes accredited by the BVAS machine, the same situation in Ahiazu Mbaise where results were announced with fake BVAS accreditation in favour of APC.
“Outrageously, that of Owerri Municipal Council as announced by the INEC Returning Officer, showed that APC scored 79,043 votes, LP scored 12,765 votes, and the PDP scored 9, 674 votes. It goes to show that in Owerri Municipal Council, BVAS was not used to conduct the election; these issues should be looked at critically by the judges and ensure that justice is served, and citizens’ confidence in the electoral process, restored.
“In Imo, the electoral system was raped and afterwards set on fire and the only way to quench that fire is for the court to look into the political and electoral madness that happened during the 2023 general election and restore the people’s confidence in the electoral system and reaffirm their hope in the judiciary by voiding all the fraudulently announced results with figures above accredited voters number or manipulated BVAS accreditation numbers which were done in some of the constituencies, especially during the supplementary elections.”