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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Imo Election Tribunal: Setback For APC As Key Witness Admits Irregularities In Uzodimma’s Votes – WAEC Certificate



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From Andrew Chibu

The key witness of the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, at the ongoing election petition tribunal in Abuja says that the votes garnered by the governor exceeded the number of accredited voters.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the November 11 off-cycle election in the state.

While the governor polled 540,308 votes, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Samuel Anyanwu polled scored 71,503 votes. Achonu came third with 64,081 votes.

Both the PDP and LP candidates however rejected the outcome of the election and have headed to court to claim what they insist is their mandate.

Barrister Akolisa, the star witness who appeared before the Justice Oluyemi Osadebey-led panel said the votes recorded for Uzodinma in the Form EC8D result sheet issued by INEC exceeded the number of accredited voters on the certified Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) report.

During cross-examination, he noted that the number of voters in the result sheet must tally with accreditation in the BVAS but could not fathom why there was a huge disparity in this case.

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Also the principal of Mgbidi High School, where Governor Uzodinma obtained his controversial WAEC result was in court to give her testimony.

The school official, Lillian Ozoemena, brought to the tribunal a rubber stamp which she brandished as the official stamp of Mgbidi High School as her only means of identification.

However, she could not produce any evidence to back up her claims that Uzodinma passed through the school.

During cross-examination by the counsel to Sen. Anyanwu, Mrs Ozoemena said she was at the election tribunal on her own and not in her official capacity contrary to the deposition in her witness statement.

The principal also said she was neither the Principal nor teacher at Mgbidi High School in 1982, discrediting her attempt to authenticate the controversial document.

The tribunal has adjourned the matter for the adoption of the written addresses of both parties to April 24, 2024.

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Anyanwu and the PDP are challenging the outcome of the election, praying the election tribunal to withdraw the Certificate of Return that was issued to Uzodinma and declare him as the duly elected Governor of Imo State.

They also alleged that the governor submitted forged WAEC certificate to INEC in aid of his qualification to contest the governorship poll.

It can be recalled that in 2013, Festus Keyamo, current Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development sued the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, over an alleged certificate forgery Uzodinma, then a Senator representing Imo West at the National Assembly.

According to Keyamo, Inquiry and investigation into the names and persons that graduated from Mgbidi Boys’ High School in 1982 revealed that the governor was not a graduate of the school in that year.

In a letter addressed to the Registrar of the examination body dated May 14, the minister had told the body that he had reliable information that Uzodinma did not.

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