Election Tribunal Rules in Favour of Ajudua Amidst Bribery Allegation, Azuya Vows to appeal
The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba over the 2015 House of Assembly election today ruled in favour of Mrs Princess Pat Ajudua of People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The judge dismissed all but two of the 14 petitions against her by Chief Tony Azuya of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
Chief Azuya has vowed to appeal the verdict: “I will appeal the verdict,” he told XCLUSIVE MAGAZINE reporter while leaving the Tribunal after the judgement.
Mrs Ajudua, the chief whip of the State House of Assembly, has never lost a tribunal case (and indeed any court case) in Delta State. It is said by political analysts in the State that taking on Mrs Ajudua in her stronghold, where she appears to have pocketed the judiciary, was going to be a Herculean task for Chief Azuya. The verdict today appears to have justified that assertion.
It will be recalled that in 2007, former State commissioner for Local Government, Hon. Patrick Mozea, petitioned against Ajudua’s victory in the 2007 elections, principally on the grounds that she was not a valid candidate for the election as Accord, her political party then, was not on the ballot paper. Hon. Mozea had argued that if Accord was not on the ballot paper, how was she voted for? However, Hon. Mozea was compelled to withdraw his petition after several appeals from many stakeholders, including Ajudua herself
In 2011, it was Mrs Ajudua that then petitioned Hon. Mozea’s victory in elections on the grounds that the election was inconclusive, as elections did not hold in four polling units (Nkpanyala, Post office and two units in Omu boys pry sch, all in Ibusa) because of violence. She had prayed for a rerun, but the tribunal, instead of ordering for a rerun election in the areas she complained of, cancelled all the areas Hon. Mozea had won in the LG, even when she didn’t complain about them.
The tribunal even went as far as cancelling all other areas where other candidates won, such as some units at Okpanam and Illah won by the current commissioner for information Patrick Ukah and Uche Uge respectively, leaving only the areas where Mrs Ajudua won.
It was alleged then that Mrs Ajudua bought the judgement with an alleged N30million bribe offered to the tribunal judge. There is unconfirmed report that Mrs Ajudua has bribed tribunal members presiding over her current case with Chief Azuya with similar amount to swing the judgement in her favour.
***Additional reports by Dr Peter Anny-Nzekwue
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