INEC has asked the Enugu Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal to base its decision on the certified true copies of BVAS data tendered by the Labour Party candidate for governor on March 18. This data pertains to allegations of overvoting in the Nkanu East Local Government Area.
In response to the Tribunal’s Saturday subpoena, INEC requested that the copies the commission hadavailed Labour Party and which have been tendered before the court be accepted as valid evidence, as INEC had failed to bring some of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation Systems (BiVAS) machines used for the Owoh and Ugbawka areas in Nkanu East.
On Sunday, Edeoga finished presenting his case before the tribunal. He had petitioned INEC’s chairman, accusing the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Chukwuemeka Chukwu, of ignoring requests for a forensic analysis of the BiVAS machines.
In response to INEC’s repeated attempts to evade the tribunal’s June 26, 2023 subpoena, the tribunal issued an oral subpoena on Saturday, requiring INEC to appear in court on Sunday with the BiVAS devices.
In this case, the tribunal had to decide whether or not there had been overvoting in the affected areas based on evidence provided by the Labour Party and its candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, because the INEC representative, who identified himself as Mr. Eze Okafor, had failed to tender the 10 BiVAS machines as demanded by the tribunal.
Five BiVAS machines claimed to have been used to accredit voters in Igbo Eze North Local Government Area were tendered to the tribunal by INEC as early as 9.00 am on Sunday, but all of the machines were either empty or clocked, meaning the forensic expert was unable to examine them.
The Labour Party claimed in its appeal that Nkanu’s vote total was artificially inflated by more than 16,000 votes, from a total of roughly 15,000 accredited voters to 32,000. In locations where overvoting is proven, the Electoral Act allows for votes to be nullified.
After Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner of the Governorship Elections in the state on March 18, 2023, Chijioke Edeoga went to the tribunal to seek redress.
In his petition, Edeoga offered five arguments for why he should be recognised as the lawfully chosen candidate.
Forgery of his NYSC discharge certificate and voter suppression in the Udenu and Enugu South Local Government Areas are just two of the allegations he makes in his appeal.
Overvoting allegations have been made at several polling places in Nkanu East Local Government Area, and there have been additional irregularities reported in Igbo Eze North Local Council as well.
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