Wonne Afronelly Commends Election Petition Tribunal for Proceeding with Suit Hearing, Raises Concerns Over INEC’s Claim
The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) candidate for the Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency, Wonne Afronelly, has expressed her utmost appreciation to the election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja for its decision to proceed with the hearing of her suit.
She recognizes the significance of the tribunal’s acknowledgment of her case as a vital step toward seeking justice and ensuring electoral integrity.
In a statement released to the press on Saturday, Wonne highlighted that the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal had granted her earlier request to serve the respondent, Mr. Emerengwa Boniface Sunday, with the court process through substituted means.
The petition challenges the omission of her party’s logo on the ballot papers during the election held on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
In the ongoing election petition tribunal case with reference number EPT/RV/HR/17/2023, the panel responsible for handling the petition held a pre-trial hearing at the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja.
According to Wonne, “After a series of counter affidavits and further affidavits submitted by all respondents, as well as written addresses from all parties, the pre-trial hearing concluded on Friday.”
She added, “The panel, led by Justice A.O Opesanwo, has disregarded the requests of the first and second respondents to dismiss the petition, as well as the allegation made by the third respondent in a further affidavit claiming that I am not a valid voter in the Ikwerre/Emohua Federal constituency.”
Expressing her appreciation to the panel, the APM candidate commended their decision to proceed with the hearing.
Furthermore, Wonne found the allegation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who is the third respondent in the suit, regarding her voter validity to be laughable, as she was able to cast her votes in Unit 16 of Ward 09, Rivers State during the recently concluded 2023 elections.
She raised concerns about the efficiency of INEC and questioned how the electoral body could issue a Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to her and subsequently question her validity as a voter in her constituency.
However, Wonne emphasized the successful accreditation process that took place during voting, casting doubts on the conflicting claims from INEC.
The panel (comprising of other members — Fatima Musa and Bashairu Ibrahim) has now scheduled the hearing to commence on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, with subsequent hearing dates set for June.
In addition, Wonne expressed her confidence in the election tribunal panel and eagerly looks forward to the upcoming sessions, expressing her belief that their efforts will contribute to the realization of a better Nigeria. She aims to #SEAL2023 and #FixNigeria by supporting the best-fit candidates.
She also extended her gratitude to God for the strength to persevere throughout the process and acknowledged the unwavering financial support from her family, the #DeWONNEZDynasty.
Furthermore, she praised the determination and encouragement of the legal team led by Barr. Innocent U. Ekwu from APM Rivers State especially Barr. Kere Confidence for his dedication to ensuring smooth hearings in Abuja.
Cc: Alli Abiola — www.itsallisay.com