. . . Wants Ekwunife’s Victory Nullified
By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) senatorial candidate for Anambra Central Zone in the just concluded general elections, Chief Tony Chukwuelue, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Awka over his exclusion from the ballot paper for the 23rd February election.
Chukwuelue is seeking to nullify the election conducted in the zone, saying that he was wrongfully excluded from the poll without any reason or warning, despite having the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on notice earlier.
Speaking with journalists after filling his petition, he said he was suing INEC, Senator Uche Ekwunife (the eventual winner) and her party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to seek to have the result of the election set aside for a fresh election to be conducted in the zone where his name and party logo would be included in the ballot papers.
Chief Chukwuelue said, ‘My name and SDP logo were inexplicably removed from the ballot papers for the Feb 23, 2019 Elections, hence throwing my teeming supporters who trooped out to cast their votes for me, in confusion on the voting day.’
Coming near to tears while narrating what he described as a harrowing experience, ordeal and insult he had received on the matter, to SDP stakeholders who gathered to be briefed about his efforts to get justice so far, Chukwuelue lamented that the situation had extensively eroded his name, image and public standing.
‘Many of my supporters were erroneously informed that I sold my opportunity to some other candidate, whereas it was not true.’
He said those he tagged political traducers who apparently masterminded the wrongful removal of his name from the ballot were clearly afraid of his burgeoning political popularity ahead of the election in the area.
The senatorial candidate who tendered the Certificate of Return issued to him by the party dated Oct 3, 2018 in a party primary where he was the only aspirant, said he ran a well-coordinated and strictly issue-based point-to-point campaign resulting in endorsements by distinguished groups, stalwarts, communities and other political associations, which saw him coasting home to a landslide victory, but that the unfortunate happened about three days to the election date and threw everyone off guard.
Chukwuelue disclosed that all efforts he put up, including putting INEC on judicial notice on the discovery of the exclusion of his name, and seeking to stop or suspend the election in the zone pending the inclusion of his name, yielded no fruits.
He said, ‘I have hired a team of lawyers who have put together all the necessary documents and filed the petition while awaiting take off of proceedings. I want to participate fully and actively in the election and also prove to my supporters that there was no iota of truth in the allegation that I sold my opportunity.’