Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Enugu West Senatorial Zone Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of collaborating with the lawyers of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ekweremmadu, to undermine her petition at the Election Tribunal.
In her petition to the National chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, against the Enugu State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Ibekaku-Nwagwu, who is also the Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform,
alleged that the commission hired Mr. Peter Eze, who is a managing partner in the Senator Ekweremmadu’s Law firm in Enugu to represent it at the election tribunal.
She said that the action amounted to a conflict of interest in the sense that the Deputy Senate President is a party to the suit.
The petition reads in part “Our attention has been drawn to the fact that INEC hired Mr. Peter Eze, a managing partner of Eze, Ekweremmadu Law firm, based in Enugu and Abuja to represent it at the Enugu state Election Tribunal. This is not only a conflict of interest given that Senator Ekweremmadu is one of the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) petitioned against, but it is also disturbing given what transpired during the election where PDP and Enugu state government officials were used as adhoc staff.
Ibekaku said that APC had earlier petitioned the INEC chairman asking him to investigate the REC in Enugu over alleged complicity in the mismanagement of the last general election in Enugu.
She said that she and other aggrieved candidates were demanding for the immediate removal of Mr. Eze as the INEC representative in the Enugu Election Tribunal.
In the same vein, she said the candidates no longer have confidence in the REC adding that he should be redeployed and replaced by another person.
Ibekaku-Nwagwu contested under the umbrella of the APC against Senator Ekweremmadu of the PDP.
Not satisfied with the conduct and outcome of the result of the election, she filed a petition at the tribunal in Enugu.