I Didn’t Cheat to Become Senator – Umeh Tells Tribunal

The senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial Zone, Victor Umeh, has denied accusation that he indulged in malpractice to win his election into the Senate in January this year.

The senator, who was in court Friday for cross-examination, dismissed the claim that the election was rigged in his favour, noting that the election was a walk over for him as he defeated his opponents overwhelmingly.

He said the election was peaceful and that no security threats or invasions were registered anywhere in all the seven local government areas where the election took place.

Barr Nkem Ekweozor, a candidate of the Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP) in the Jan. 13 Anambra senatorial rerun election had challenged Umeh’s election.

Ekweozor during cross-examination Friday said Sen. Victor Umeh screened himself to emerge candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2014, when he was still the national chairman of the party.

He argued that Umeh was still the chairman of the party at the time he secured nomination to run for senate in 2014, and that this was in violation of APGA constitution and Electoral Act, thus making his nomination invalid.

It would be recalled that the election in contention was originally conducted in 2015 and won by Mrs Uche Ekwunife but was nullified following the petition of Chief Umeh.

The rerun, which was on the basis of the original nomination, barred the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from contesting and was won by Umeh with a wide margin.

In his response, Umeh said he was not a member the screening committee which was properly constituted according to APGA guidelines and constitution.

He listed Mr Tayo Sowunmi and Mr Ifeanyi Mbaeri as chairman and secretary of the screening committee but told the court that he could not remember the name of the third member.

Justice H. O. Olusiyi, chairman of the tribunal who, adjourned the matter to 12th July for adoption of addresses, asked the parties to file their written addresses.

Umeh, who briefed journalists after court session, said the petitioner constituted little threat to his seat at the National Assembly but decided to come in obedience to the law in his usual habit of not wanting to circumvent rules.


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