The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Awka, the Anambra State capital, Wednesday admitted in evidence four documents relating to the state Governor, Willie Obiano’s alleged multiple registrations prior to the November 16, 2013 governorship election in the state which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared him the winner.
The three-man panel chaired by Justice Ishaq Bello had after listening to the submissions by counsel to Mr. Tony Nwoye, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the election who petitioned against the INEC’s declaration of Obiano as the winner of the election, and objections of the respondent’s counsel, said it was admitting four of the five documents pleaded by Nwoye.
The tribunal in its ruling read by a member of the panel, Justice Akintola Akinniyi, after retiring into chambers to consider the submissions and objections, said it was rejecting the fifth document which is the INEC manual register for the election because it was not pleaded by the petitioner, insisting that evidence laid must relate to the pleadings.
The tribunal therefore, admitted in evidence the INEC CVR form which is the form Obiano allegedly requested from the INEC for the transfer of his registration from Lagos State to Anambra State long after he had registered the second time in his Aguleri home town, Anambra East Local Government Area of the state, the INEC nomination form, the voter’s card and the Federal High Court, Abuja proceedings on his alleged multiple registration.
The paragraphs in the petitioner’s petition on the governor’s alleged multiple registration had earlier been struck out by the tribunal on the grounds that they were pre-election matters but had to be transferred back to the tribunal to hear them by the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal which heard a cross-appeal filed by both Nwoye and Senator Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress (APC) whose petition suffered the same fate.
Later, under cross-examination by Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), counsel to Obiano, and Pat Ikwueto (SAN) counsel to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Nwoye said he was disenfranchised on the day of the election along with over 600 voters in his polling unit because they could not find their names in the voters’ register.
“Not only me, more than 600 people in my polling unit including my parents, and siblings didn’t find their names and therefore could not be accredited to vote,” he said, adding that he left at about 10.30a.m. after waiting without any remedy in sight.
He said his party had agents in all the 4,788 polling units across the state and not in the 1,900 points INEC created without telling the parties before the election.
While the election was on, some of his agents, he said, called to inform him that so many of their supporters in the areas they manned were disenfranchised because they could not find their names in the register and that his personal visit to some polling units in his area, as well as Fegge in Onitsha and those in Ogbaru near Onitsha proved them right.
He said no register was given to the parties or displayed before the election to check for errors.
He said he was not aware that Obiano had been acquitted by a court of competent jurisdiction over double registration but was aware that there is a pending suit on the matter at the Federal High Court in Abuja, adding that the information on the governorship alleged double registration are contained in both form CF001 and the INEC nomination forms which he filled.
In the form CF001, he said there was a column for a fresh person to sign and thumb print requesting whether he had registered before.
He said Obiano signed those forms as well as the counter-affidavit he personally deposed to.