Case adjourned June 6

The Labour Party candidate’s lead counsel in the ongoing election petition tribunal for the Orlu State Constituency on the March 18, 2023 Imo House of Assembly elections, Barrister G C. Opara, has raised an alarm that the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, APC, has been doing all it could to frustrate the fair hearing as well as smooth proceedings of the the tribunal. 

In an interview with judicial correspondents after the case between Comrade Precious Nwadike of the LP and Chief (Barrister) Ikenna Ihezuo of the APC, in suit number APT 30/2023, was adjoined for June 6, 2023. 

According to him, “Indeed, the APC has made every effort to frustrate the success of this petition. As you are very much aware, the law allows every petitioner to express thier grievances in situations like this. 

“If you recall, before we came to the court, and in pursuance with the law, we made applications to INEC, asking it to make available to us, all the documents we require to enable us file this petition. Unfortunately, INEC refused to honour that application”. 

Opara, expressing sadness but optimism over that behaviour, added, “It was in pursuance to that, expectedly, that we made application to court, in motion exparte, which this honourable tribunal granted, and directed INEC to furnish us with all relevant documents., and to enable us to inspect all materials and documents used in the conduct of that election. 

“INEC disobeyed that order of a competent court of jurisdiction. At that moment, therefore, we had to find a way around it a petition using the facts and documents we already had in our disposition”. 

He however debunked the allegations which insinuated that the elections petition tribunal is employing delay tactics as a means of delaying and denying justice as it adjoined the matter to June 6, next month. 

“I don’t think this is true. This is just the first pre hearing in the regular court. Parties involved are still filling thier respective petitions, and others providing answers to some issues raised. Let us give the tribunal more time. 

“It is when it starts happening on a repeated stances you can now say so. May be, in view of the rain or any other factor beyond the control of the tribunal, the matter was rescheduled for June 6, 2023. The chairman of the panel directed that all maters relating to this case should be taken to June 6. My advice is, we should keep our fingers crossed till then”, Opara enthused. 

On basically what are his prayers in the case, he pointedly made his stand known. He said, ” In the case between Comrade Precious Nwadike of the LP and Chief Ikenna Ihezuo of the APC and emanating  from Orlu LGA,  our prayers are  three as follows. One,  we want the tribunal to nullify the election as the third respondent in the matter, Ikenna Ihezuo, was not qualified to contest that house of assembly election on March 18, 2023 because criminal activities levelled against him and which indicted or incriminated in the past and which had judicial decisions against him.

“Two, we also want the tribunal to nullify the election because it was marred by irregularities, corrupt practices, including but not limited to vote buying and gross manipulation of results. And three, we equally want the election to be nullified because the third respondent, Ikenna Ihezuo, never won the election by lawful counting of the votes cast”.