Photo: Okorocha and Ihedioha
Amby Uneze in Owerri
After weeks of speculations and rumours surrounding the next move the Imo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following their loss in the governorship election to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party’s governorship candidate and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha has filed a petition before the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Owerri to challenge the re-election of Governor Rochas Okorocha for a second term.
Ihedioha had earlier inferred that the people’s votes did not count, alleging conspiracy between the APC and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In suit number EPT/IM/GOV/3/2015 filed against Okorocha, APC and 35 other respondents, Ihedioha maintained that the election was flawed irredeemably by violence, intimidation, widespread malpractices and partisanship on the part of INEC.
He also stressed that the process was fraught with substantial non-compliances particularly the extensive infringement on paragraph 28 of the guidelines for the 2015 election by declaring results on votes obtained without accreditation or in excess of accredited voters, and the total breach of the principle of neutrality embedded in the Electoral Act as flagrantly perpetrated by INEC staff and agents.
He had earlier cited the alleged arrest of more than a dozen personnel of INEC in the state, who he alleged conspired with the APC to manipulate and change the results of elections already declared in favour of PDP.
Ihedioha, through Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN, who leads seven other lawyers, is praying the court to declare him winner of the election or alternatively cancel the said election and conduct a fresh governorship poll in the state.
Declaring that the election was invalid for reason of acts of non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act in the conduct of the election, Ihedioha prayed the tribunal to also order Governor Rochas Okorocha to return the certificate of return issued to him by INEC.