The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the November 16, 2013 governorship election in Anambra State, Senator Chris Ngige, yesterday mounted the witness box to substantiate his allegation of multiple voter registration levelled against his All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the election, Chief Willie Obiano.
He told the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Awka, that Obiano, who won the election, was a registered voter in Lagos.
His testimony came after the Court of Appeal had ordered the tribunal, which had earlier struck out paragraphs relating to Obiano’s alleged multiple registration in Ngige’s petition on the grounds that the claim was a pre-election matter, to restore them.
The Court of Appeal ordered that the claim be heard on its merit and Obiano called to defend himself.
Ngige, during his testimony yesterday, tendered in evidence an extract of the voter register for Lagos State, showing the name of Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano as having voted in the 2011 presidential and governorship elections.
Presenting the extract, which was certified by the Lagos office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on April 23, 2014, Ngige told the tribunal that whatever was contained in the register as at the time it was certified remains the same as it was in 2011 till date since Lagos State had not reviewed the register after the last general election.
INEC’s counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), had objected to the tendering of the document asking Ngige if there was any remark by the electoral commission to confirm that the certified extract was the current one in its possession, but he was overruled.
Obiano had claimed in his deposition that though he registered in Lagos in 2011, he transferred his registration from Lagos to his home town, Aguleri prior to the election.
Obiano’s form EC4B, an INEC’s form seeking information on the particulars of nomination as the candidate of his party as well as Obiano’s CF001, which is a form seeking information on the candidate’s personal data on oath for the election were also tendered before the tribunal.
The certified copy of the INEC register from Lagos as well as forms EC4B and CF001 were admitted in evidence by the tribunal.
The form CF001 submitted by Obiano, Ngige told the tribunal, contains his voter’s card No 332 which was obtained on September 23, 2013, the same day he allegedly completed the forms which he said was different from his voter card No 11 obtained in Lagos and also different from a third voter’s card obtained, according to Ngige, on August 21, 2013.
Asked by counsel to APGA, Osita Nnadi (SAN), if he did not consider that the review of voter’s register by the INEC was an opportunity to strike out names of the dead, Ngige replied in the affirmative but said it was also an opportunity to remove the names of transferred voters from the register, which was not in the case of Obiano as at April 24, 2014.
He also said he could not report Obiano to the police for prosecution because his party had gone to the Federal High Court, Abuja before the election seeking an order of mandamus for the Inspector General of Police to prosecute him.