Ebonyi bye-election: PDP candidate accuses tribunal of bias


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the February 3, 2024, Ebonyi South Senatorial bye-election, Barrister Silas Ọnụ has accused the Election Petition Tribunal judges hearing his petition of bias.

Onu made the accusations in a petition to the President of the Court of Appeal dated 29th April, 2024, wherein he demanded the disbandment of the the panel.

He is challenging the declaration of Processor Anthony Okorie of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He accused the three judges of the tribunal namely Justice H.N. Kunaza, Justice Basset Nkanang and Justice M. O. Agboola, of blatant disregard for justice.

According to him, on 15th of April he applied via a Motion on Notice for an order of Inspection of electoral material, specifically the BVAS.

Onu noted that while the motion was opposed by the 2nd and 3rd Respondents, INEC the first respondent against whom the application was made, did not oppose it.

“We made our case for the grant of the order for inspection to be done during the trial and supported the application with a recent Supreme Court decision showing that the Tribunal has the power to grant such an application in the interest of justice.

“In any case, the 2nd and 3rd Respondents also pleaded the BVAS in their respective replies to the Petition.”

He lamented that the tribunal on Saturday, being the 27th of April, 2024, delivered its ruling on the application dismissing same on the ground that granting it will amount to amending the Petition.

He argued that the claim by the tribunal can best be described as arguing the case of the Respondents in the most untruthful manner.

“It can never be acceptable to me and should not be allowed to infest the already beleaguered reputation of the Nigerian Judiciary, especially in election cases,” he argued.

Explaining further, Onu said the tribunal’s claim that the petitioners in their petition did not plead BVAS is false.

“This is not only false, but manifestly wicked and clearly intended to pervert justice by denying the Petitioner the right to present their case and evidence before the tribunal, because the BVAS was copiously pleaded in paragraph 42 (16) of the Petition at page 32 in the following word “The BVAS machines used in the election for physical inspection of the data stored therein, together with their respective serial numbers.”

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