The Ebonyi Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has affirmed Francis Nwifuru as the duly elected Governor of the state.
Nwifuru, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), secured 199,131 votes, defeating Ifeanyi Odii of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who garnered 80,191 votes.
Bernard Odoh, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), came in third with 52,189 votes.
Dissatisfied with the election’s outcome, Odoh and APGA filed a petition marked: EPT/EB/GOV/01/2023 against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Francis Nwifuru, and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Their primary contention was that Nwifuru’s nomination by the APC was illegal since he was still a member of the PDP when he was nominated as his party’s flagbearer, given his position as the Speaker of the Ebonyi House of Assembly at the time.
In a judgment delivered on Wednesday, the tribunal dismissed the petition filed by Odoh and APGA on the grounds that they lacked the locus standi (legal standing) to challenge Nwifuru’s electoral victory.
The three-member panel, led by Lekan Ogunmoye, held that the issue raised by the petitioners was an internal affair of the APC.
Furthermore, the tribunal noted that APGA failed to appeal a Federal High Court judgment that confirmed Nwifuru’s defection from the PDP to the APC.