By Chuks Moses, Awka
Despite being forced to take a long adjournment due to lack of electricity in the courtroom to play a video recording introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal One panel, chaired by Hon Justice L. O. Ogundana, turned down the offer by a litigant’s lawyer to one of the respondents to provide the tribunal with diesel to power the court’s generator.
A petition with reference number EPT/AN/SEN/05/2023 was brought before the three-man panel by the Anambra Central Senatorial candidate for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Hon Dozie Nwankwo, against Chief Victor Umeh of the Labour Party, seeking his ouster.
However, the stuffy and discomforting courtroom forced the panel to adjourn to Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and 9, 2023.
The adjournment came after the panel turned down an offer by Chief Alex Ejesieme(SAN), counsel to INEC to offer a donation of large quantity of diesel for the court complex generating set.
The panel’s Chairman, Justice Ogundana, politely declined, saying he didn’t want petitions flying around against the panel over the gesture.
He, however, bemoaned the unfortunate situation where the tribunal sits in very uncomfortable atmosphere. There was no lighting, fans or airconditioners. He compared the hot, dusty, and unfriendly courtroom with broken windows, to his experience in Edo State that was so clement with 24 hours electricity supply with all the air conditioners in proper condition.
However, Ejesieme (SAN), assured that he would take the matter to the Anambra State Chief Judge immediately after the session.
Earlier while giving witness in one of the petitions brought against him, this time from Princess Helen Mbakwe, Senator Victor Umeh insisted that the logo of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) on the ballot papers used for the Anambra Central senatorial election on Feb 25, 2023 was the actual one approved by the national secretary of the party during parties meeting at the INEC headquarters.
Umeh’s stand contradicted the position of NNPP’s candidate that her party’s logo was not on the ballot papers for the election.