Rep-elect urges tribunal to dismiss Egenti’s application to join petition

A member of the House of Representative-elect Valentine Ayika has prayed the Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra state to dismiss the application of Dr Richard Egenti seeking to join in the petition against him.

Ayika was declared winner of the Anaocha, Dunukofia and Njikoka federal constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 National Assembly election in Anambra.
Egenti filed an application to be joined as a respondent in the petition filed by Representative Dozie Nwankwo, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, seeking the voiding of PDP’s Ayika’s candidacy in the election.

In his application, Egenti contended that he was the rightful candidate of PDP for the election and should be joined in the petition as a respondent and an interested party.

Counsel for Ayika, Fidelis Anyanegbu, urged the tribunal to discountenance the application as it was filed outside the 21 days allowed by the Electoral Act for parties to file their processes.
Anyanegbu argued that Egenti had filed a separate petition marked EPT/AN/HR/15/2019 against Ayika without proof of having withdrawn it, saying his action implied that he had two suits against the same party on the same subject matter.
He described it as an abuse of court process and should be struck out, adding that the applicant had no locus standi to be joined as a respondent in the petition.
In his submission, Anthony Anyaorah, Counsel for Egenti, said that the application was informed by the fact that Egenti was the rightful candidate.

Anyaorah said that Egenti won the PDP primary election for the constituency.
He said the APGA candidate acknowledged Egenti as the correct candidate of PDP in his petition.
He said the petitioners ought to have sued Egenti instead of Nwankwo.
“The petitioner acknowledged in his petition that the applicant is the rightful candidate of PDP but instead of suing him, they sued another person,” he said.
Anyaorah prayed the court to grant the application and allow Egenti to be joined as a respondent.

On his part, Dr. Olatuke (SAN), council to Nwankwo, objected to granting the application, saying that it would lead to the alteration of their petition.
Olatuke said the application should be struck out and maintained that PDP had no candidate in the election, even as chairman of the tribunal, Justice Esther Haruna, fixed ruling on the application for May 17.(NAN)

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