Tribunal Upholds Annie Okonkwo’s Son’s Election Victory

By Polycarp Ifeanyi, Onitsha

The Anambra State National/State Assembly Petition Tribunal, sitting in the state capital Awka, has affirmed the election of Uche Okonkwo, the son of the late Senator Annie Okonkwo, as the authentic winner of the Idemili North/South Federal Constituency in the February 25, 2023 election.

One of the three judges dismissed the petition filed by Lateef Fagbemi SAN, who is now the Attorney-General of the Federation, on behalf of Ikenna Iyiegbu, who contested under the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Iyiegbu’s petition sought to have Okonkwo removed from office on the grounds that he was not a valid member of the Labour Party, among other issues.

However, Okonkwo’s counsel, Ejike Ezenwa SAN, countered the petition, arguing that Iyiegbu and his representatives did not have the authority to question the Labour Party’s choice of candidate, as they were not members of the party.

Ezenwa also argued that the issues raised in the petition were pre-election matters, which fell outside the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.

The senior learned counsel also raised concerns about the credibility of the petitioner’s witness, as they had claimed the witness was a male from Awka, but a female appeared in the witness box.

Furthermore, Ezenwa informed the court that the petitioners did not have any witnesses, a fact that the judge highlighted in his judgment.

Delivering the judgment yesterday in Awka, on behalf of the other judges, which included L. O. Ogundana and Usman S. Sakwa, Justice A. T. Changbo, dismissed the petitioner’s case.

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In his reaction, Olusola Dare from Fagbemi’s chambers praised the judgement, saying that the lordships agreed with some of their arguments but at the conclusion they ruled against them.

 ” The  joy is when a lawyer makes a point and the Court appreciates it, accepts  and rules on it, even if it is against him there is no problem. For now, I can not say I will go to appeal until I get to my client” Said Dare

On his part, Chief Ezenwa SAN  lauded the Tribunal for being thorough in their judgement, stating that the judgement was a beautiful one.

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