The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, in Imo State and Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, has finally filed a petition at the Election Petitions Tribunal, in Owerri, against Governor Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
His action, at the weekend, against Okorocha, has ended weeks of speculations and rumours on whether he and his party would challenge Okorocha at the tribunal.
He alleged that conspiracy between APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), stressing that people’s votes did not count.
In suit number EPT/IM/GOV/3/2015 against Okorocha, APC and 35 other respondents, Ihedioha maintained that the election was characterised by violence, intimidation, widespread malpractices and partisanship on the part of INEC.
He also stressed that the process was fraught with substantial non-compliance, particularly the extensive infringement of Paragraph 28 of the guidelines for the 2015 election by declaring results on votes obtained without accreditation or in excess of accredited voters, and the total breach of the principle of neutrality embedded in the Electoral Act, as flagrantly perpetrated by INEC’s staff and agents.
Ihedioha had earlier cited the alleged arrest of more than a dozen personnel of INEC in the state, whom he alleged conspired with the APC to manipulate and change the results of elections already declared in favour of PDP.
Ihedioha, through Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), who leads seven other counsels, is praying the tribunal to declare him winner of the election or, alternatively, cancel the said election and conduct a fresh governorship poll in state.
Declaring that the election was invalid for reason of acts of non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act, Ihedioha prayed the tribunal to also order Okorocha to return the certificate of return issued to him.
Sam Onwuemeodo, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to Governor Okorocha, dismissed Ihedioha’s petition as efforts in futility, saying, “We shall meet him at the tribunal.”