Anambra Governorship Election: My Testimony – Chris Ngige
Senator Chris Ngige is in the Anambra Election Petitions Tribunal to seek justice, having been aggrieved by the conduct of November 2013 gubernatorial elections in Anambra State. Ngige,
favoured by all calculations to win the elections says he was ‘allocated the third position’ in the election.
The main party sued in the subsisting petition is Independent National Election Commission (INEC), which is the First Respondent. Also in the matter as is Prof .Chukwuemeka Onukogu, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for INEC in Anambra State as Second Respondent.
Mr Wille Obiano, the candidate sponsored by All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and decalred winner of the disputed election is the Third Respondent while his party,APGA is the fourth. The fifth Respondnet, another political party, Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD),has been struck out, having been withdrawn by Ngige’s Lawyers.
Senator Ngige who has already testified before the three-man Anambra State Gubernatorial Election Petitions Tribunal headed by Hon Justice Ishaq Bello adopted the following Evidence –in –Chief when he mounted the witness box.
Please read on:
I, SENATOR (DR.) CHRIS NWABUEZE NGIGE, (OON), Male, Christian, Nigerian Citizen, Medical Doctor, Politician and Knight of St. John’s International, residing at No. 1 Chris Ngige Crescent, Urueze-Ide Village, Alor, Idemili South Local Government Area, of Anambra State do hereby make oath and state as follows:-
I am Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige. I am a Medical Doctor and also a politician. I live at No. 1 Chris Ngige Crescent, Urueze-Ide Village, Alor, Idemili South Local Government Area, of Anambra State. I was a former Governor of Anambra State between May 29th 2003 and March 16th 2006 and currently a Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District in the Upper Chamber of National Assembly.
I am the 1st Petitioner in this petition. I make this written deposition for myself and on behalf of All Progressives Congress, (APC), the 2nd Petitioner in these proceedings.
I am a registered member of All Progressives Congress (APC), one of the political parties registered under the laws of Nigeria and authorized to sponsor candidates in election. I was the flag bearer of the Party in the Governorship election held on the 16th of November 2013.
I also know the 1st Respondent. It is a statutory body created by law with the responsibilities of organizing, conducting and supervising elections into various elective offices including the office of Governor and its Deputy. It is also charged with the responsibility of organizing voter registration and updating voter register for purposes of elections.
I also know the 2nd Respondent. He is an officer in the employment of the 1st Respondent assigned with the responsibility of overseeing the affairs of the 1st Respondent in Anambra State. Under the provisions of the INEC Manual for Election Officials 2013/2014, he is saddled with additional responsibilities of taking delivery of all sensitive and non sensitive materials for elections from INEC headquarters and distributing them to Electoral Officers; supervises the recruitment and training of all staff including ad hoc staff for elections in the State.
I know the 3rd Respondent. He was a candidate in the Governorship election held on 16th of November 2013. He was sponsored by the 4th Respondent, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). He is the candidate declared as the winner of the said election by the 1st Respondent, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
I remember Saturday the 16th of November 2013; it was a day scheduled for election to the office of Governor of Anambra State. I was a candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) in the election together with my running mate Hon. Raph Okeke.
Twenty-Three (23) political parties sponsored candidates in the said election. The candidates and their political parties are the 3rd Respondent, Chief Willie M. Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Okeke Chika Jerry of Action Alliance (AA), Chukwuemeka Nwankwo of Accord Party(A), Dr. Ifeatu Ekelem of All Congress of Democrats (ACD), Engr. Anthony Anene of All Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Comrade Aaron Igweze E. of Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Anayo A. Arinze of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Patrick C. Ibeziako of African Peoples’ Alliance (APA), Chief Austin Nwangwu of Citizens Popular Party (CPP), Chijioke G. Ndubuisi of Democratic People’s Party, (DPP), Christian I. Otti of Independent Democrats (ID), Chief Dennis N. Oguguo of KOWA Party(KP), Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah of Labour Party (LP), Pastor Simon C. Okafor of Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP), Okonkwo E. Webster of National Conscience Party (NCP), Prince Leonard Uchendu of New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Comrade Tony Nwoye O. of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Godwin C. Ezeemo, of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Hon. Basil Iwuoba O. I. of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Onuorah B. Onyeachonam of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Barr. Okoye G. Ohaenyem of United Democratic Party (UDP) and Prof. Benedict N. Akanegbu of United Peoples Party (UPP) were candidates.
In the said Governorship Election held on the 16th, 17th and 30th of November, 2013, 23 (twenty-three) political parties sponsored candidates and the votes scored by each party as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were as follows:-
|S/N||NAME||PARTY||NUMBER OF VOTES|
|CHIEF WILLIE M. OBIANO||APGA||180,178
|TONY NWOYE O.||PDP||97,700|
|SENATOR (DR.) CHRIS NWABUEZE NGIGE (OON)||APC||95,963|
|PATRICK IFEANYI UBAH||LABOUR/LP||37,495|
|EZEEMO GODWIN CHUKWUNENYE||PPA||5,120|
|PATRICK CHUKWUKA IBEZIAKO||APA
|ENGR. ANTHONY ANENE||ACPN||899|
|CHIEF AUSTIN NWANGWU||CPP||879|
|CHIEF ANAYO A. ARINZE||ADC||699|
|PRINCE LEONARD UCHENDU||NNPP||696|
|CHIJIOKE GEOFREY NDUBUISI||DPP||632|
|PROF. BENEDICT NDUBISI AKANEGBU||UPP||624|
|DR. IFEATU EKELEM||ACD||490|
|HON. BASIL IWUOBA O. I.||PPN||325|
|CHIEF DENNIS NWAFORKA OGUGUO||KP||321|
|OKONKWO EMEKA WEBSTER||NCP||264|
|OKEKE CHIKA JERRY||AA||249|
|ONUORAH BASIL ONYEACHONAM||SDP||235|
|CHRISTIAN IKECHUKWU OTTI||ID||205|
|COMRADE AARON IGWEZE E.||AD||180|
|PASTOR SIMON CHINWEUBA OKAFOR||MPPP||155|
|23||BARR. OKOYE GODSON MGBODILE OHAENYEM||UDP||153|
10. At the end of the Governorship Election which stretched from the 16th to the 17th up to 30th of November 2013, Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the 3rd Respondent herein, was returned elected by the Returning Officer, Prof. James Epoke, an agent of the 1st Respondent on the 1st day of December, 2013 with 180,178 as total votes scored.
11. My party and I are aggrieved with the return of the 3rd Respondent as the winner of the questioned election for the reason that, the 3rd Respondent did not satisfy the mandatory requirements of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
12. I have in the petition stated the grounds upon which the Election is questioned. They are:
(i) That the election of the 3rd Respondent, Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, the person whose election is questioned, was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and the INEC Manual for Election Officials 2013/2014;
(ii) That the said election was marred by various acts of corrupt practices;
(iii) That the said Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano was not elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election;
(iv) That the said Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano was not qualified to contest the election.
Anambra State is one of the States in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The State has 21 Local Government Areas made up as follows:
(i) Aguata (ii) Anambra East
(iii) Anambra West (iv) Anaocha
(v) Awka North (vi) Awka South
(vii) Ayamelum (viii) Dunukofia
(ix) Ekwusigo (x) Idemili North
(xi) Idemili South (xii) Ihiala
(xiii) Njikoka (xiv) Nnewi North
(xv) Nnewi South (xvi) Ogbaru
(xvii) Onitsha North (xviii) Onitsha South
(xix) Orumba North (xx) Orumba South
In the statistics given by the 1st Respondent at the Stakeholders’ Meeting held at Awka on the 13th of November, 2013, the total registered voters is stated be 1, 784, 536. The total number of Registration Areas (i.e Electoral Wards) is to be 326 while Polling Units is 4,608.
We are complaining that the election and purported declaration of the 3rd Respondent was unwarranted and invalid, for the reason that the election was conducted by the 1st Respondent in a manner which was manifestly and substantially not in accordance or compliance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended)
16. The voters’ register used for the election was fundamentally flawed in that overwhelming number of registered voters were excluded from the voters’ register and were therefore disenfranchised;
17. Further to the above, I am aware that the 1st Respondent had continuously given conflicting figures as the number of registered voters in Anambra State.
18. On the 13th of November 2013, the Chairman of the 1st Respondent at a stakeholders meeting in Awka announced the figure of 1,784,536 as the registered voters. On the 18th of November 2013, the Returning Officer for the Governorship while declaring the election inconclusive announced a figure of 1,760,751. In the State final Collation of Results for the election on the 30th of November, 2013 the same Returning Officer put the number of registered voters at 1,770,127.
19. In the voters’ register compiled by the 1st Respondent, the number of registered voters in Anambra State is stated (among three other conflicting figures mentioned) to be 1,770,127 voters. On Election Day, the Voters’ Register used by the staff of the 1st Respondent was grossly deficient as many registered voters in all parts of the State could not find their names on the register while photographs of minors and blurred images filled the register. We shall rely on the Inspection Report carried out on the Voters Register used for the 16th, 17th and 30th November 2013 election as well as the Report on analysis of all the voters registers used in previous elections in Anambra State including photo reports of the voters registers.
20. As a result of the flawed nature of the Voters’ Register including the problem of multiple registration and attendant mass disenfranchisement of voters in the election, only 442,242 voters or 24.9% were able to exercise their franchise.
21. I verily believe that the election was fundamentally and irredeemably flawed in that the voters’ register used by the 1st Respondent in the conduct of the said election was deficient, defective, inflated, undermined, inaccurate and therefore unreliable. The said register did not conform to the provisions of Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), thereby rendering the entire results arising from the said election void.
22. On or about the 16th day of October, 2013 the 1st Respondent at a forum with the officials of participating political parties held at Awka distributed an electronic version (e-copy) of the Anambra State Voters Register given to the said party officials. Sections 10(3) and 26 of Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) read together require the 1st Respondent to supply printed copies of the register to the political parties within 30 days before the date of the election. The non-compliance with this provision vitiated one of the fundamental principles of a free and fair election.
23. The 1st Respondent through its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega again on the 13th of November, 2013 at a Stakeholders’ Meeting held at the Women Development Centre, Awka informed the audience/the participating political parties including your Petitioners that the e-copy of the voters’ register earlier distributed to the political parties had an error to the effect that the age of every voter was reduced by 2 (two) years. Consequently, at the end of the meeting, the Director in-charge of the 1st Respondent’s ICT Department, Mr. Chidi Nwafor, a native of Anambra State, issued another e-copy of Voters’ Register to agents of political parties including your Petitioners.
The transcript and the video clips of the said Stakeholders’ Meeting containing the speech of Prof Jega as recorded by several media houses and by the cameramen attached to my Media Unit can confirm this
24. With the election just 3 (three) days away, we went into the election with the belief that the Voters’ Register to be used in the conduct of the election was credible, reliable and error-free.
25. On the first day of the election i.e. on the 16th of November, 2013 as well as on the subsequent dates, the Petitioners discovered that the Voters’ Register used in the conduct of the election was defective and was afflicted with so many vices and defects, the details of which are set out in a Report compiled by our team of consultants engaged to analyze the Registers. The extract from the said report indicating some of the polling units affected by the defective register is contained in SCHEDULE I to the petition. In summary,I read the report which if shown I will be able to identify and it identified several defects include the following, among others:
(A) MISSING PAGES: Several pages containing details on some voters were missing from the Voters’ Register. This was rampant in the printed copies of the voters’ register given to the Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) by the Electoral Officers in-charge of the 1st Respondent’s local government offices. The SPOs in turn handed over the said voters’ registers to the Presiding Officers who conducted the election at the polling units. The removal of these pages (missing pages) from the voters’ register was deliberately planned and painstakingly executed plot to disenfranchise thousand of voters whose names were already captured in the electronic copies of the register.
For instance, at Ojoto Ward in Idemili South LGA, voters with surnames starting with the alphabets “O” up to “U” could not find their names in the register for all the 33 polling units in the ward. When the voters reacted angrily and insisted that no voting would take place in the ward unless the anomaly was rectified, the SPO for the ward went back to the INEC/1st Respondent’s local government office in Ojoto and returned with the missing pages for the voters’ register. This conduct confirmed the suspicion that the missing pages in the voters’ registers were not accidental but carefully and deliberately executed at selected targets.
In my home town Alor Ward II where a similar incident occurred, the presiding officers in-charge of United Primary School Codes 001, 002 and 003 polling units were shown copies of the voters’ register for the same polling units (printed from the 2nd Petitioner’s e-copy) showing the names of missing voters in INEC’s voters’ register, but this observation went unheeded as the presiding officers did not allow the said voters to exercise their franchise. This anomaly also featured in virtually every other polling unit in Idemili South, Idemili North, Nnewi North, Ogbaru, Awka South, Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Oyi, some parts of Anambra East, Ayamelum and other local government areas, resulting in omission of names of hundreds of thousands of voters whose data were duly captured in the e-copy of the voters’ register earlier supplied to the political parties.
(B) UNDER-AGED PERSONS OR MINORS AS VOTERS: Persons who by the provisions of Section 12(1)(b) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) are not qualified to vote or be registered as voters in the election were included in the Voters’ Register. This irregularity could be found in the Voters’ Register in about 18 local government areas but more particularly in Anaocha, Anambra East, Oyi, Ayamelum, Aguata, Orumba North, Orumba South, Anambra West, Njikoka, Awka North, Awka South, Ihiala, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, and Ekwusigo local government areas among others. During the inspection of the INEC voters’ register pursuant to the order of the Tribunal, it was discovered that most of these minors were ticked off as having voted in the election.
(C) VACANT SPACES WITH NO BIOGRAPHICAL DATA OF VOTERS/EMPTY PICTURE PLACE-HOLDERS ASSIGNED VOTER INFORMATION NUMBERS (VIN): Vacant spaces in the voters’ register with no biographical data of prospective voters but with ages stated as “2013” also featured in the Voters’ Register. This anomaly was especially rampant in the voters’ register used for Agulu Wards I, II, III & IV in Anaocha Local Government Area and in Ayamelum and Orumba North Local Government Areas.
(D) INANIMATE OBJECTS AS VOTERS.
One of the irregularities that afflicted the voter register used in the election is the inclusion of inanimate objects as human beings. In the voter register for Umuereodili Village Square IV in Igbakwu ward, Ayamelum LGA a plate of rice was registered as a voter and given the following particulars; ‘VIN 90F5 B178 7129 5274 449, Name-Gh, Nb Bn, Occupation-Civil Servant, Gender- Male, Age- 37”
(E) MULTIPLE REGISTRANTS: Cases of multiple registrants also featured in virtually every voter’s register used for every polling unit in the election for the entire 21 Local Government Areas of Anambra State. Multiple registrations are specifically prohibited by Section 12(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). The rampant and widespread cases of multiple registrations contradicted the claim by the 1st Respondent that it has a software – Advanced Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) – to detect and eliminate multiple registrants. The claim turned out to be false as incidences of multiple registrations could be found in about 3000 out of the 4600 voter registers used for the election. By the widespread nature of multiple registrations in the voters’ register, the announced figures, 1, 784, 536 or 1, 770,127 registered voters for Anambra State becomes questionable. In Ayamelum Local Government Area, one individual got registered as many as 5 times bearing different surnames, Onwuaso, Onwuasonya, etc in several polling booths in one ward alone.
(F) SCANNED PHOTOGRAPHS OR IMAGES: This anomaly was also found in the Voters’ Register used in the election, and was prevalent in the voters’ register for Anaocha (particularly Nri I and II), Ihiala, Njikoka, Ayamelum, Anambra East, Anambra West, Onitsha North, and Onitsha South LGAs. Again, this irregularity enabled the 1st Respondent to register voters by proxy, contrary to the provisions of Section 24(f) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
(G) BLURRED IMAGES OR PHOTOGRAPHS OF VOTERS: This also featured in the voters’ register used in the election. With these blurred images, it became impossible for a Presiding Officer to identify a prospective voter, thereby subverting the provisions of Section 49(2) of the Electoral Act and Chapter 3.2 of the INEC Manual which provides steps for the accreditation of voters. Additionally, with the blurred images it was impossible to prevent multiple registrants and impostors from voting at different polling units. This irregularity also enabled the possessors of voters cards with blurred images to engage in the unwholesome sale of such voters cards to desperate politicians. This irregularity was rampant in the voters’ register for Anaocha (particularly in the 4 Wards in Agulu town and Nri Wards I & II), Ihiala (particularly at Uli I, II & III), Ayamelum (Ama Isiogwari, Umumbo, Omor etc), Nnewi South (particularly in Osumenyi Wards I & II), Awka South and Njikoka Local Government Areas.
(H) GENDER MIS-DESCRIPTION: Wrong gender description was another irregularity that bedeviled the voter register. It was a common sight in the register for able bodied men to be described as “female” while pleasant looking ladies are described as “male”. The local government areas where this irregularity exists include Ayamelum,Onitsha South, Aguata, Ogbaru, Oyi, Anambra East, Awka North, Ihiala and Orumba North.
(I) HIGHLY INFLATED NUMBER OF VOTERS: This anomaly was found in the voters’ register, with some of them being as large as 2000 – as found in the voters’ register for Awka North, Awka South, Anambra East, and Onitsha North, Nnewi North and Ogbaru. On the contrary, some other polling units had as little as 1 (One) registrant as in the voters’ register, as evident in the voter register for Ekwulummili ward Nnewi South, Idemili South and Ekwusigo Local Government Areas.
26. The1st Respondent’s Chairman had claimed that, save for ages of registrants that were reduced by 2 years there was no difference between the voters’ register issued to the political parties in October and November 2013 and the one actually used in the election, your Petitioners found that the latter register had boxes for accreditation and voting, and also had wrong ages of voters. Contrary to the 1st Respondent’s claim that only 2 years were added to the data of all voters in “correcting” the voters’ register, there is evidence, using the 2011 voters register as a guide, that as much as 3 years were added to the data of all registered voters, thereby giving a lie to the 1st Respondent’s claim. Most importantly, the missing pages in the register used on the day of election showed a very profound difference with the electronic copies supplied to the political parties. I will be able to identify all the four registers (i.e. the one of 2011, October 2013, November 2013 and the actual one used on the various dates in the election)if shown to me.
27. With the deficient voters’ register used in the election, the 1st Respondent still went ahead to omit names of hundreds of thousands of voters by deliberately and or negligently omitting some pages in the printed copies of the voters’ register given to the Presiding Officers during the election. Thus in some Local Government Areas perceived as strongholds of the Petitioners – namely Idemili North, Idemili South, Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Awka North, Awka South, Ogbaru, Dunukofia and Njikoka local government areas – many of the voters could not find their names in the voters’ register. It was in this circumstance that high-profile voters like the PDP Governorship candidate Comrade Tony Nwoye, his parents and siblings, former Minister for Women Affairs Mrs. Josephine Anenih, Prince Arthur Eze and so many others could not vote on Election Day.
The video clips showing evidence of voter disenfranchisement as recorded by African International Television (AIT), Television Continental (TVC), Channels Television, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and private recordings made by my agents are available and will be played if the Tribunal permits.
28. It is our belief that voters’ register being an indispensable foundation for the conduct of a free and fair election, the questioned election was deliberately undermined by the 1st Respondent so as to give undue advantage to the 3rd and 4th Respondents in the election.
29. Many Election Observers who witnessed, observed and monitored the conduct of the election confirmed the disenfranchisement of hundreds and thousands of voters in many local government areas particularly in areas where my party or parties opposed to the ruling APGA/3rd Respondent are perceived to be strong. One of the Observers, Transition Monitoring Group stated in its report that the “widespread cases of missing names in the voters’ register questions the integrity of the accreditation process and the authenticity of the voters’ register,.”
30. In the conduct of the questioned election, the 2nd Respondent, Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukaogu exhibited acts of manifest bias, animosity and hostility against me and my party. The 2nd Respondent’s undisguised and deep-seated bias and animosity dated back to the days the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) when and some of my party members contested the National and State Assemblies election in 2011.
31. The bias and animosity were manifested in various forms, namely through malicious and baseless cancellation of elections duly won by the defunct ACN and writing petitions to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) against some members of the party in the aftermath of the said election. The said REC equally wrote a petition against one Mr. Alex Anene, one of the returning officers in the Anambra Central Senatorial election which I won. The 2nd Respondent’s grouse was that Mr Anene refused to be used in declaring false return in the said election. Subsequently, the 2nd Respondent took it upon himself to personally invite officials of then ACN and the said Returning Officer to INEC Office at Awka for interrogation by ICPC officials-a clear indication of the 2nd Respondent’s resolve to settle scores with me.
32. The 2nd Respondent also unilaterally declared some of the State Assembly seats election won by ACN as “inconclusive” or upturned the victories to losses as it happened in my Idemili South State Constituency in which Hon. Ebele Obi of ACN won but his victory was, at the directive of the 2nd Respondent, awarded to the APGA candidate. Most of the controversial results announced by the 2nd Respondent in 2011 elections against ACN candidates were overturned by the Election Tribunals with serious rebuke of the 2nd Respondent for his unwholesome and partisan role. This hostile attitude was subsequently transferred to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the 2nd Petitioner.
33. I had course to bring up this issue to the INEC Chairman’s attention at several occasions including the Stakeholders’ interactive session held in Awka. Despite calls by the 2nd Petitioner that the 2nd Respondent be transferred out of Anambra State, the 1st Respondent, for reasons that have now manifested in the questioned election, retained him for a hatchet job against us and for the benefit of the 4th Respondent.
34. In a recent interview with an online news medium, Sahara TV, on the 16th of November, 2013 Prof. Onukaogu put this unmistakable animosity and bias in public sphere when he declared that the first petitioner is “insincere” and is a “man prone to electoral manipulation.” . Full details and transcript of the said interview had been set out in Schedule 3 to the petition which I adopt for present purposes.
35. Further acts of bias and partisanship demonstrated by the 2nd Respondent in his capacity as the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra State include but are not limited to:-
(a) Recruitment of persons with sympathy for and or affiliation to the 4th Respondent in Anambra State, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), to act as Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs), Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers in the election: The Petitioners state that on account of entry of Dr. Nkem Chukwukaodinaka Okeke, the 4th Respondent’s Deputy Governorship candidate, a staff of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Awka in the election and the 1st Respondent decided as a matter of policy not to recruit any staff of the University in any stage of the election. As an alternative, the 1st Respondent recruited most of its ad hoc staff from the University of Calabar, Cross Rivers State in order to demonstrate neutrality and to be seen as creating a level playing field in the electoral process. However on Election Day, the Petitioners discovered that the 2nd Respondent had secretly arranged the recruitment and deployment of about 21 staff of the UNIZIK to act as Supervisory Presiding Officers in the election. Part of the Staff specially recruited for hatchet jobs in the election include the following:
|Ubanwa Modesta||SPO||UNIZIK Registrar’s Office – Admissions|
|Ezeafulukwe Blessing||SPO||Faculty of Arts, UNIZIK|
|Okeke Stella||SPO||Faculty of Law|
|Umenze Ifeoma Glady||SPO||Regis tar’s Office|
|Obineche James A||SPO||Registrar’s Office|
|Elijah Chinedu Vincent||SPO||Registrar’s Office|
|Uzor-Oguejiofor Cecilia||SPO||Vice Chancellor’s Office|
|Osondu Nnamdi Christopher||SPO||Vice Chancellor’s Office|
|Jibike Viola Uchenna||SPO||Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies|
|Nkwoka Bonniface||SPO||Faculty of Education|
|Okafor Mary Jane||SPO||Registrar’s Office – Admission|
|Nwadike Emmanuel||SPO||Vice Chancellor’s Offce|
|Nwokoye Antonia||SPO||Vice Chancellor’s Office|
|Paul Okolie||SPO||Faculty of Engineering|
|Joy Enwedo||SPO||Vice Chancellor’s Ofice|
|Prof.Charles Emeka Nwadigwe||SPO||Dept of Theatre Arts|
|Confidence Okafor||SPO||Faculty of Law|
|Cornelius Aghadiegwu Ukwueze||SPO||Dept Of Mass Communication|
|Chigozie Ikegulu||SPO||Works Dept|
|Chukwudi Njelita||SPO||Security Officer in Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies|
|Dr. Chike Okoye||SPO||Dept, of English|
(b) Recruitment of students with ties to the 4th Respondent as Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers (Poll Clerks) in the election. On Election Day when the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members deployed to Idemili North LGA embarked on a premeditated strike action, the 2nd Respondent took full advantage of the situation to recruit students and other unemployed youths with ties to the 4th Respondent as Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers and deployed them across Idemili North and Idemili South LGAs. It was as a result of the nefarious activities of these APGA affiliated ad hoc staff that election was severely disrupted in Obosi, Ogidi I & II, Nkpor I & II, Abatete, Oraukwu, Eziowelle, Abacha, Uke, Umuoji and Ideani wards in Idemili North LGA leading to the cancellation of results from Ogidi, Abatete, Nkpor while strangely retaining results from Oraukwu, Eziowelle, Uke, Umuoji, Abacha and Abacha wards .
(c) Still on the issue of breach of the critical requirement of neutrality in the election and ensuring fairness to all candidates, the 2nd Respondent also secretly recruited and deployed students, unemployed youths and known supporters of the 4th Respondent as ad hoc staff in the election. Most of these ad hoc staff – who was largely untrained – displayed open hostility, bias and partisanship against the Petitioners. It was as a result of this irregularity that reports of late commencement of voting, non-availability of result sheets, poor handling of the procedural steps in INEC Manual and allocation of votes became the order of the day. These partisan ad hoc staff engaged as Supervisory Presiding Officers, Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers or Poll Clerks were deployed to Anambra East, Anambra West, Oyi, Njikoka and Anaocha Local Government Areas resulting in outlandish figures recorded for the 4th Respondent from the results in the areas.
I have asked INEC to furnish me the comprehensive list of all ad hoc staff engaged by it for the election as well as their full contact details. As at the time of swearing to this statement the 1st and 2nd Respondents were yet to furnish me with the list as ordered by the Tribunal.
(d) In his world press conference held in Abuja on the 22nd of November, 2013 the Chairman of the 1st Respondent, Prof. Attahiru Jega in answer to reporter’s question, admitted that the Commission, in clear breach of its earlier decision, recruited adhoc staff from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka where the said Dr. Nkem Okeke was last employed before the election, with a tepid explanation that the Commission did so when it ran out of manpower. If the tribunal permits, the video clips of the said press conference recorded by cameramen of the AIT, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird and NTA well as excerpts of the text of the address published in Vanguard and Daily Sun newspapers of 23rd of November 2013 will be played or read out.
36. On the issue of late delivery of materials, I wish to state that on the 16th of November, 2013 the first day of the election, polling could not start at the scheduled time of 8am in all polling stations in Awka North, Awka South, Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Ogbaru, Idemili North, Idemili South,Ihiala, Orumba North, Orumba South and some parts of Anambra East and Oyi Local Government Areas owing to several factors devised by the 1st and 2nd Respondents to weaken the electoral success of the Petitioners in these Local Government Areas. The effect of late commencement of accreditation and voting was that after waiting for several hours without seeing the polling officials, many of the voters left the venues in frustration. Awka North, Awka South, Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Ogbaru and Idemili North Local Government Areas were most hit in terms of late commencement of polling which substantially affected the result of the election. To corroborate the fact of late commencement of election in these areas, the 2nd Respondent, Prof. Onukaogu in an interview with Sahara TV narrated how some Youth Corp members said to have been deployed from Delta State to take part in election duties in Anambra State were arrested by the men of the Anambra State Police Command at the Bridge Head, Onitsha on Friday the 15th of November 2013. The excepts of the interview ran, inter alia:
“SAHARA TV: From your own angle now tell us, what were the problems that you encountered?
PROF. ONUKAOGU: A number of challenges: one is the challenge of distrust. Let me give you an example; yesterday I expected corps members to come from Asaba to serve as presiding officers in Ogbaru, Onitsha South, Onitsha North and Idemili Local Government Areas. This is because the corps members we had paid to serve us in Anambra State were not enough since we had less than 4600 officers. But when our corps members came in from Asaba they were stopped at Onitsha Bridge, at Asaba bridge head, at 2pm in the afternoon; they were not allowed to cross.
SAHARA TV: Who stopped them?
PROF. ONUKAOGU: The police stopped them; the police thought that they were mercenaries, that they were coming to vote for one of the parties. In spite of the fact they had documentations to show that they were corps members and they were coming for INEC duties in Anambra State. The police delayed them up till 10 pm in the night. And that disrupted to a large extent my plans and what I had put in place in Anambra – I mean, Onitsha South, Onitsha North, Idemili and Ogbaru. By the time they came in it was absolutely, almost impossible for me to deploy the way I had wanted to deploy them. So in the morning most of my polling centres were vacant and since there was this curfew which did not allow for mobility of people there was no way they could get to their polling centres on time. And that caused a serious disruption and mistrust. And that’s why I maintain the view that this culture of mistrust and distrust have kind of been eroding our system making it extremely difficult for me to actualize the thing the way I wanted to do so.
SAHARA TV: Prof, some of the viewers who are watching will ask the question, if there are people who were coming for official duties in Anambra State and they were stopped by the police, why is it that they did not contact INEC officials to say this is what is happening to us?
PROF. ONUKAOGU: They did, they do, they contacted me. I called the Commissioner of Police, the Commissioner of Police called his counterpart in Asaba, Delta state. It took us time; it was not until 10pm when the Commissioner of Police himself personally intervened before they were released. As a matter of fact, the policemen who arrested them said they were not going to take instruction from anyone except from the Inspector General of Police himself because, as far as they were concerned, we were mercenaries, they saw us as mercenaries coming to beef up the votes of one or two political parties. That is what I am saying, this culture of mistrust and distrust kind of eroded into the credibility of what I had set out to do. And it affected me very adversely; that is why you find hiccups in many places in the election the way it occurred. And that is part of, one of the reasons that made us start late in areas like Idemili and Ogbaru.”
(I have full text of the interview and will tender same if the Tribunal permits)
37. In Idemili North Local Government Area, the presiding officers deployed to the Local Government in the morning of the election embarked on a strike action for non-payment of their allowances or honorarium by INEC. The strike action which the Petitioners believe were orchestrated and premeditated severely affected the deployment of electoral materials to all the Wards in the Local Government Area. Idemili North LGA is a highly populated area with a voting strength in the region of 173,832 with about 306 Polling Units.
38. Following the presiding officers’ ‘strike action’, polling did not take place in Obosi Ward of Idemili North with a voting population of about 45,000 voters. When the INEC officials insisted on going ahead with the election at about 2-3pm, the youths of the town along with party agents resisted this as it would entail late night voting.
39. The 1st and 2nd Respondents without any formal or proper notice to all the concerned stakeholders shifted the polling from Saturday 16th November, 2013 to Sunday 17th November, 2013.
40. We feel strongly that the shifting of the election to a Sunday did not take into account the religious sensibilities of the electorate in the area.
41. The 1st Respondent’s Chairman in an interview aired on African Independent Television (AIT) admitted that a Sunday was inappropriate for the election in a predominantly Christian environment but insisted, among other reasons, that the Electoral Act did not prohibit any day for holding of election. Despite written protestations by some agents of our party .The affected areas are the 275 polling units in Aguata, Ayamelum, Anambra East, Anambra West, Anaocha, Awka North, Awka South, Ekwusigo, Idemili North, Idemili South, Ihiala, Nnewi South, Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Orumba North, Oyi local government areas.
42. In other electoral Wards in Idemili North Local Government Area such as Ogidi I & II, Abacha, Abatete, Eziowelle, Ideani, Nkpor I & II, Oraukwu, Uke and Umuoji, the customized electoral materials such as result sheets and ballot papers were deliberately mixed up by the Electoral Officer for Idemili North LGA, Mr. Chukwujekwu Okeke, resulting in the disruption of polling in the entire local government area. The said Electoral Officer was later arrested and charged on 25th November, 2013 at an Abuja Chief Magistrate Court in First Information Report No.CR/163/13 COP Vs Chukwujekwu Okeke for dereliction of duty to wit, that he “unlawfully breached his official duties by deliberately withholding the electoral materials designed(sic) for the election”. The Electoral Officer was allegedly compromised by agents of the 3rd and 4th Respondents who induced him with hefty sums of money to subvert the electoral process in the stronghold of the Petitioners. The First Information Report on the criminal case, the statements made by the Accused Electoral Officer as well as the Police Investigation Report (Interim and Final) on the incident are document I have asked the Police to produce. When they are produced I will tender them.
43. When the 1st Respondent postponed the Obosi election unilaterally, unlawfully, arbitrarily and without adequate notice to the my party and other stake holders, the other electoral wards where elections did not hold were left out by the officials of the 1st Respondent. On the 18th of November, 2013 after failing to get the figures and margin needed to ‘coronate’ the 3rd Respondent as the ‘winner’, the Returning Officer declared the election inconclusive and ordered a ‘supplementary election’ in 210 polling units cutting across 16 local government areas, majority of which are in Idemili North LGA. The so called supplementary election amidst objections from the 3 major parties in the election, namely the 2nd Petitioner, my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party was eventually held on the 30th of November 2013. We urge for reasons shown earlier that all the votes recorded for the parties and candidates in Idemili North local Government Area on the 16th, 17th and 30th of November 2013 on account of the irregularities highlighted.
44. I wish to further state that contrary to established practice whereby election materials are moved from the Super Registration Area Centres (SuperRACs) and in the presence of party agents, the 1st Respondent told party agents that materials for the rescheduled election in Obosi had been moved either from the State or LGA Headquarters “straight into the booths” and in the absence of party agents, thus compromising the integrity of the electoral process and the outcome of the election.
45. After mis-conducting the election in several local government areas particularly in Idemili North,Idemili South, Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Ogbaru, Anambra East, Anambra Wes, Orumba North, Orumba South, Ihiala and other Local Government Areas, the election proceeded to the next stage, collation of results at the State level. Submission of results began at about 12.05am of the 17th of November, 2013 with returns emanating from the Local Government Areas. By 1am there was an announcement that the exercise had been suspended and that it would resume later that day.
46. In a clear departure from the provisions of the 1st Respondent’s Manual for Election Officials 2013/2014, the process of collation at the State level lacked transparency, as the Local Government Collation Officers did not publicly announce the results they were bringing in as required by law. Instead, the results were brought in and kept in a bag said to be “tamper proof” and “custodied” by the 2nd Respondent.
47. The results from the Local Government Areas were only publicly announced before party agents, election observers and journalists about 12 hours later (i.e. in the early hours of the 18th November 2013).
48. The Returning Officer for the election, Prof. James Epoke (the Vice Chancellor of University of Calabar) started receiving the returns from the Local Government Area Collation Officers, most of whom are also lecturers from the same University, a situation that created room for undue influence and/ or conspiracy.
49. On Monday the 18th November, 2013 in the course of the Collation, the Returning Officer at about 6.10 am announced that the election had been cancelled or could not hold in some polling units spread across 16 Local Government Areas of the State. He also announced local government by local government, the scores of each candidate/political party in the election. For all the 23 political parties, he announced their scores as follows:
AA — 236
ACCORD – 181
ACD – 471
ACPN – 552
AD – 171
ADC – 642
APA – 1, 521
APC – 92,300
APGA – 174,710
CPP – 853
DPP – 607
ID – 203
KOWA – 313
LP – 37,446
NPPP – 151
NCP – 254
NNPP – 670
PDP – 94,956
PPA – 5,056
PPN – 323
SDP – 231
UDP – 153
UPP – 621
50. The Returning Officer went further to announce the following figures:
TOTAL VOTES CAST – 413, 005
NO OF REGISTERED VOTERS—–1, 763, 751.
ACCREDITED VOTERS STATE WIDE —–461, 836.
REJECTED VOTES – 16, 544
TOTAL VOTES CAST – 429, 549
51. At the end, he announced that the 3rd Respondent had purportedly scored 174, 710 votes, followed by the PDP candidate with 94,956 votes. Your Petitioners were allotted the 3rd position with 92,300 votes and the Labour Party candidate with 37,446 votes. The Returning Officer further announced that since the number of registered voters in the areas where results were cancelled or election did not hold was 113,113 and taking into account that the margin between the 3rd Respondent and the PDP candidate (79,754) was less than the registered voters in the said areas; the election would be declared “inconclusive”. Thereafter, the Returning Officer distributed a document captioned “Form EC40G -Independent National Electoral Commission, Summary of registered voters of Polling Units (Election not held/cancelled)”. In the Form EC40G signed and dated the 18th of November 2013, election was cancelled in 210 Polling Units in 16 local government areas namely:
|S/N||Name of Local Government Area||LGA Code||No. of Polling Units Affected||Total No. of Registered Voters (For the Affected Polling Units)|
It was further announced that a supplementary election would take place on a date to be announced by the 1st Respondent. I have a copy of the said Form EC40G. Video clips of the collation exercise at different stages will be relied upon.
52. Your Petitioners further state that following the reports from party agents, election observers and journalists on the widespread irregularities that dogged the election, and the illegality of the proposed supplementary election, we caused a letter to be written to the Chairman of 1st Respondent and another to the Returning Officer, bringing to their attention these widespread irregularities and requesting for the outright cancellation of the entire election. I have copies of the letters with me
53. Prior to the writing of the letters referred to in the preceding paragraph, we had earlier written a letter dated 16th November, 2013 to the 1st Respondent and copied the 2nd Respondent, informing them about the reports of irregularities received from various parts of Anambra State as the said election was in progress. The 1st Respondent in its reply dated 17th day of November, 2013 signed by its Secretary, denied the occurrence of various acts of malpractices that dogged the governorship election for “lack of any verifiable evidence.” I have a copy of the letter with me here,
54. We are in this case also complaining that the Collation of results at the State level lacked transparency and was in breach of the provisions of 1st Respondent’s Manual for Election Officials 2013/2014 and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
55. The release of another list of areas for holding of the so-called Supplementary Election by the 2nd Respondent which differed substantially from the number released by the Returning Officer (as regards the number of polling units affected and the number of registered voters), is also a violation of provisions of 27(f) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and rendered the said Supplementary Election null and void and of no effect;
56. I and 2nd Petitioner verily believe after being advised by our team of counsel that the election sought to be nullified was conducted in substantial negation of the fundamental principles of the Electoral Act, which are the sustenance of democracy, neutrality in the conduct of the election, fairness, and allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The 1st Respondent and its officials particularly the 2nd Respondent were, in the conduct of the election, undemocratic, lacking in neutrality, unfair to the Petitioners and that the 1st and 2nd Respondents manifested overt acts of lack of neutrality and partisanship in favour of the 3rd and 4th Respondents.
57. I also verily believe that the election was monitored by responsible and respected local and foreign election observers who issued reports of their respective monitoring exercises. Some of these monitoring groups are the European Union (E.U.) Election Observer Mission, Justice Development and Peace Commission, the Nigerian Civil Society Election Situation Room and others. We rely on the findings of some of the monitoring groups as contained in the reports issued by them and uploaded on their respective official websites, distributed to political parties and candidates and/or otherwise published by them. If permitted I will be able to identify and tender some of these documents.
58. Your Petitioners further complain that in the conduct of the election being questioned the 1st Respondent created what it termed Voting Points in breach of the provisions of Sections 42 and 58 of the Act that permit business of voting to be held in only polling units created by the 1st Respondent. This act of non-compliance affected the outcome of the election. It was in most of these Voting Points that manipulated results emerged during the election particularly in some polling units in Anambra East and Anaocha LGAs.
59. Your Petitioners state that on account of the serious acts of non compliance and corrupt practices that marred the conduct of the election, all votes scored by all candidates stand nullified with the result that the 3rd Respondent ought not to have been returned as a candidate who scored 25% of lawful votes cast in at least 2/3 of 21 local government areas in Anambra State.
60. Your Petitioners state that on or about the 1st day of September, 2013, the 3rd Respondent through the 4th Respondent submitted INEC Form CF 001 – Affidavit in Support of Personal Particulars of persons seeking election to the office of Governor of Anambra State”. In the said form, under clause 8, the 3rd Respondent was specifically asked whether he had presented a forged certificate to INEC and if yes, to give details. The 3rd Respondent in answer to the said question answered “NO”. The said form was sworn at the High Court Registry, Awka, Anambra State on the 3rd of September, 2013. Attached to the said Form was a Voter’s card with VIN: 90 F5B15E7D378200332 purported to have been issued by the 1st Respondent on the same 3rd of September 2013. If I see the said form I will be able to identify it.
61. I categorically state the said voter’s card submitted by the 3rd Respondent to the 1st Respondent was improperly irregularly and illicitly obtained by the 3rd Respondent in that as at the said date, the 3rd Respondent was and still is, a registered voter with VIN 90F5B12B01296204172 issued by the same 1st Respondent in January 2011 at its Lagos office. On the 23rd of August 2013, the 1st Respondent also acquired his second voters’ card with VIN:90F5B12B88377091121 having presented himself for registration as a voter at Eri Primary School I, Polling Unit 004 at Otuocha Ward 1, Anambra East Local Government Area. The voter’s card which was the card attached to said INEC Form CF001 was the third card illegally acquired by the 3rd Respondent.
62. On the basis of the third voter’s card, the 3rd Respondent was cleared to contest the said office of Governor of Anambra State.
63. I am aware that Section 16(1) and (2) the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) prohibits and criminalises the registration and possession by any person of more than 1 voter’s card.
64. I recall that at every .turn., the Chairman of the 1st Respondent, Prof Attahiru Jega and the 2nd Respondent had stressed the point that only first registration of a multiple voter registrant is recognized by INEC, that any subsequent or latest voter’s card acquired by such multiple voter registrant is automatically deleted from the register of voters thereby rendering the said voters’ card fake, forged or false. In the stakeholders meeting held on the 13th of November 2013 at Awka, the INEC Chairman while briefing the stakeholders on the issue of multiple registration said, inter alia:
“I must explain that the procedure with regard to multiple registration is that when we see somebody registered more than once, we removed from the register all the other cases of registration except the first one; the first one that was done will be retained in the register. Our laws will not allow us to penalize those who have done multiple registration by removing them totally from the register. But our law says that we must prosecute those who have done multiple registration and the penalties upon prosecution is a fine or imprisonment or both. Before we commenced the continuous voters registration we made it clear that we will penalize those who have done multiple registrations. In fact we have identified some people who have done multiple registration and we have taken them to court prior to the commencement of continuous voters’ registration.
Regrettably, we all know how the court system works. Up till now I do not think we have any successful conviction; the REC should have more information on that, but we have taken people to court and we are determined nationwide to prosecute all those who have done multiple registration.”
Video clips of such pronouncements by the INEC Chairman will be played before the Tribunal if permitted..
65. On account of the foregoing the 3rd Respondent having presented what in fact is deemed to be a forged document to the 1st Respondent through his nomination Form, he is not qualified to contest for the position of the Governor of Anambra State and ought not to have been cleared to contest the said election.
66. We pray that on account of the 3rd Respondent’s disqualification pursuant to Section 182(1)(j) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) his return as Governor of Anambra State ought and should be voided by the Honorable Tribunal.
67. Having regard to the foregoing I ask the Hon. Tribunal to grant all the prayers and reliefs set out in the petition.
68. I make this statement truthfully, conscientiously and in accordance with the Oaths Acts, Cap 01 L.F.N. 2004.
D E P O N E N T
Sworn to at the Registry of the Governorship
Election Petition Tribunal, Awka this 20th
day of December 2013.
COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS/SECRETARY
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