The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Imo State governorship election, Hope Uzodinma, has urged Imo Election Petition Tribunal to nullify the declaration of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, as winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a petition to the election tribunal made available to newsmen in Abuja, Uzodinma urged the tribunal to declare him the winner of the election, arguing that he polled majority of the lawful votes cast in the election and satisfied the mandatory constitutional threshold and spread across the state and “ought to be returned.”
The petitioner further alleged that the INEC excluded votes cast for the APC at the polling units across the state which gave the PDP candidate advantage, arguing however that after tabulating the valid votes at the polling units, the APC candidate defeated the PDP candidate with a large margin.
The petition noted that “it was in the course of collation of the results at the ward, local government and state levels, that the 3rd respondent (INEC) incorrectly stated the votes of the 1st Respondent (Ihedioha) and thus reduced the votes of the petitioners by excluding the results from the polling units where the petitioners scored overwhelming majority of the votes cast.
The petitioner further averred that “in order to give an unfair advantage to the 1st and 2nd Respondents, the INEC unlawfully credited the 1st and 2nd Respondents with votes arising from over voting in all the polling units in Aboh Mbaise, Ezinihitte, and Ahiazu Mbaise LGAs.”
The petition further argued that INEC did not comply with the Electoral Act 2010 and INEC guidelines for 2019 general elections when it recruited relatives of the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, as collation officers and returning officers in most of the local government areas in the state during the election.
The APC and its candidate, therefore, urged the tribunal to declare Uzodinma winner of the election having polled the highest valid votes of 310,458 as against 96,458 earlier credited to him by the INEC or in the alternative, nullify the governorship election held in Imo State and order for a fresh election to be conducted.