By Chuks Moses, Awka
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has admitted that its candidate’s name was never published ahead the 2019 poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the Feb 2019 2019 general election for the Njikoka/Anaocha/Dunukofia Federal constituency seat of Anambra state.
This clarification was dropped before the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal One sitting in Awka by Mr Ntiham Niam – a top administrative officer at the PDP headquarters while giving evidence as a defence witness in a petition by the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Dozie Nwankwo.
He is challenging the declaration of PDP’s Valentine Ayika as winner of the election instead of himself. Nwankwo said Ayika was never a candidate of any political party. He was being cross-examined by the lead prosecution counsel Dr Kayode Fatoke.
Ayika, in his evidence-in-chief, read out the copy of PDP National Assembly Primaries Appeal Panel’s report. The report stated that the primary contest was won by Dr. Richard Egenti. The Appeal panel’s report added that before the committee that organised and supervised the primaries concluded counting and recording proceedings and was about to announce Egenti as winner, “…Ayika connived with the Returning officer and ran away with the result.”
Ayika told the Tribunal that he was aware that Egenti went to court over the matter.
Also the PDP Appeal panel recommended that Egenti’s name be restored and forwarded to INEC, but it was not done. This has led to a battery of law suits, even up to Supreme Court.
Ayika admitted that his name was not listed in the Supreme Court judgement which he has been laying claim to, because he was not joined in the suit.
While being cross-examined by the INEC lawyer, Mr E.E. Udeh, admitted he got to know his name wasn’t in the list used for the election only on the actual day of the election. Udeh had earlier claimed his name was published by INEC as a candidate.
There was also a mild drama at the Tribunal when a visibly incensed Ayika looked at copy of a document (receipt) he earlier tendered and vehemently denied its origin and genuineness. This got both the prosecution and defense counsels tensed up as the court became charged. It took the intervention of the chairman of the Tribunal to calm him down before he looked at the document again and acknowledged it to be his receipt. He blamed poor eyesight for the initial denial.
With the conclusion of presentation of witnesses with Ayika as star defense witness, the proceedings wounded up. The respondent was given up to July 25, 2019 to file final defense address, while the prosecution was given till Aug 1,2019 to respond.
Adoption and argument of final addresses was fixed for Aug 3, 2019.