Senator Abaribe’s rival blows hot over PDP’s victory at Tribunal

All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, candidate in the Abia South senatorial poll, Chief Chris Nkwonta, has faulted the judgment of the election petition tribunal which dismissed his petition against Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Abaribe and Chief Chris Nkwonta of APGA contested the 2019 Abia South Senatorial seat.

Delivering judgment on the petition, Justice Wasiu Animashaun held that the petitioner was wrong by solely insisting on the use of smart card reader for accreditation of voters.

Justice Animashaun stressed that the use of manual accreditation during the election is also allowed.

In a chat with journalists on Thursday in Umuahia, Nkwonta said the tribunal erred in law when it failed to consider the fact that the INEC guideline on the use of smart card readers for accreditation of voters, was part of the electoral process.

He lamented that the tribunal also ignored the various cases of over-voting and numerous mutilation of results entered in favour of his opponent and expressed hope that the Court of Appeal would rectify the matter.

“The tribunal erred in its judgment. It ignored the major flank of the petition which was the issue of the use of smart card readers to accredit voters. The use of smart card readers as an INEC guideline to accredit voters is part of the electoral process meant to ensure the integrity of the system.

“The tribunal also ignored the serial mutilation of results across polling units in the zone, especially in Obingwa where my opponent comes from. The question is, if my opponent is popular, why did he have to resort to rigging in his local government?

“Our judicial system must check the issue of desperation among political office seekers. The issue is that during the election, a candidate will manipulate the system to be declared a winner because he knows that his action will be rendered a fait accompli by the tribunal. This is unfair. There is no doubt that the Court of Appeal will not ignore such facts,” he said.

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