Group petitions INEC, seeks cancellation of Imo guber poll
By Steve Oko
It is not yet ‘uhuru’ for the Governor -elect of Imo State, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, as a civil society group known as Global Centre for Peace and Justice has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), seeking the cancellation of his victory.
The group in its petition faulted the declaration of Ihedioha as the winner of the poll when he did not win the constitutional highest number of votes plus one quarter of votes in two -third of the council areas in the state.
“The law requires that Ihedioha must have secured the highest number of votes and one-quarter of votes cast in two-thirds which is 18 out of the 27 local government areas in Imo state”, the petition read.
According to the petition jointly signed by the group’s Executive Director, Dr Anthony Agbazuere (a constitutional lawyer), and Director Legal Services, Mr. Kevin Okoro, it amounts to abuse of the electoral act for INEC to uphold the declaration of Ihedioha as the “winner of the contest with these glaring infractions”.
The group argued that the Returning Officer, Professor Francis Otunta erred in declaring Ihedioha winner instead of declaring the poll inconclusive.
“It is clear even in the electoral Act that the declaration of a candidate that received the highest number of votes is subject to section 179 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
“By the provision of section 179 (2) (a) and (b), the requirement is that the candidate is to have the highest number of votes and one-quarter of all votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the state”.
“A cursory look at the result shows that Ihedioha did not get two-thirds in 18 local government areas which disqualifies him from being declared as governor elect of Imo state”.
The group further argued that since the margin of win was far less than the total number of cancelled votes , the election ought to have been declared inconclusive.
“Furthermore, while seventy thousand (70,000) votes is the difference between the score of Ihedioha and Nwosu, the number of cancelled votes which is two hundred and sixty-three thousand (263,000) is greater and should have made the election inconclusive like in Kano, Benue, Bauchi, Adamawa, Sokoto and Plateau states”.
“Ihedioha did not satisfy the requirements of the law and should not be declared elected, therefore a second election should be conducted between Ihedioha of PDP and Uche Nwosu of AA”.
The group therefore, urged INEC to reverse the declaration without delay and organise a re-run.
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