1. Today, the petition I filed challenging the declaration of Dr. Chris Ngige of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as winner of the April 2011 Senatorial Election for Anambra Central was thrown out on technicality by the National Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Awka, the Anambra State capital.
2. The tribunal based its decision on last week’s Supreme Court ruling that any case not decided within 180 days of the filing of the petition has lapsed.
3. Aware that the election was rigged in his favour, Dr. Ngige did everything humanly possible to ensure that my petition would not be heard. His legal team employed delay tactics, using one crafty argument after another to frustrate the hearing of my case. Five times we went on appeal and five times we won, sometimes with fines against Dr. Ngige.
4. Hearing into my case finally started following the Appeal Court’s order that my petition must be heard on merit and not thrown out on technical grounds against the spirit of the 2010 Electoral Act. My witnesses and I had finished our submissions and Dr. Ngige was to start his defense today. He must be relieved that the Supreme Court ruling on 180 days came to his rescue because he is aware that he did not win the election. If he won the election, why was he desperate to ensure that my petition should not be heard?
5. I have reviewed the striking out of my case with my legal team and we took a decision to file an appeal against the ruling of the tribunal at the court of appeal. This issue had been raised and determined by the tribunal and court of appeal which is the final court with respect to this matter. There was no appeal to Supreme Court by my opponent and the very judgment relied on by the tribunal is clear that a subsisting decision of the court is binding on all the parties. In effect, the decision of the court of appeal on the issue is final and binding and cannot be revisited under any guise.
6. We still believe very strongly that in the end, God of justice will give us justice.
Thanks and God bless you all.
Prof. Dora Akunyili, OFR
Former Minister of Information & Communications
APGA Senatorial Candidate for Anambra Central
Awka, February 21, 2012