8 Ebonyi APC members die in auto crash ■ As Umahi floors Nkwegu at Appeal court


8 Ebonyi APC members die in auto crash ■ As Umahi floors Nkwegu at Appeal court


This happened on a day the Appeal Court sitting in Enugu dismissed the suit filed by the 2O15 governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the State, Mr. Edward Nkwegu, for lack of merit.
It consequently upheld the verdict of the governorship tribunal in Eb­onyi State which had earlier affirmed the
victory of Engr. David Umahi of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the April 22 election in the state.
Eight of the accident victims were said to be supporters of APC House Representatives candidate in the last general election, Uche Nshii, head­ing to Enugu to witness the Ebonyi governorship tussle ruling while the conductor of the tipper also died on the spot.
Meanwhile, the tipper driver and one occupant of the vehicle occupied by the APC members were said to have been critically injured and are receiving treatment at the Federal Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki. The APC branded Sienna vehicle rammed into the tipper along the ever busy junction. An eye witness narrated that the accident occurred at 8:10 am when the Sienna Car going to Enugu when trying to avoid an oncoming motorcyclist riding against traffic skidded off the road and lost control, after which it jumped into the other side of the dual carriageway before hitting the tipper driver on the other side of the lane.
The source noted that the nine passengers died on the spot while the tipper driver was rushed to the hospital. According to him “the APC branded Sienna vehicle was coming from Abakaliki to Enugu with 10 passengers. The accident oc­curred at the dual carriageway at Ez­zamgbo junction when the driver of the APC car was trying to dodge an Okada rider facing him but jumped the pavement of the double lane and hit the tipper driver going to Abaka­liki”. He added that it took the in­tervention of sympathizers who used axes and other sharp objects to break the sienna mini bus to force out the victims.
The source further said that am­bulances later moved in to take the corpses to an undisclosed mortu­ary. Confirming the incident, the Caretaker Chairman of Ohaukwu lo­cal government area, Barrister Clem­ent Odaah said that he rushed to the scene five minutes after to rescue the situation. Odaah attributed the cause of the accident to over-speeding. He added that two survivors were taken to the hospital for immediate treat­ment while arrangements were in top gear for the deceased families to come and identify their corpses.
The Chairman expressed condo­lences to the family of the deceased and cautioned motorists to avoid over-speeding especially at this fes­tive period.
Delivering the judgement on be­half of other four Judges , Justice J.O.K Oyewole, explained that the five reliefs sought by the applicant lacked merit.
The governorship election petition tribunal in Abakaliki had in October dismissed the petition by Nkwegu challenging the declaration of Engr. Umahi by INEC as the winner of the election for lacking in merit.
It also noted the inability of the pe­titioner to prove allegations of cor­rupt practices and criminalities as contained in his petition.
Dissatisfied with the judgment of the tribunal, the LP candidate pro­ceeded to the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu.
In the appeal filed by his counsel, Chief U.N Udechukwu (SAN), Nk­wegu prayed the Appeal Court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal which he described as a grave error of law.
He urged the court to annul the election of Engr. Umahi and or­der a fresh poll since, according to him, the governorship election was marred by widespread irregulari­ties.
But counsel for Engr. Umahi, Ar­thur Obi Okafor (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lack of merit.
He said that Governor Umahi was validly elected in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.
Speaking with journalists at the Appeal Court premises after the judgement, Umahi said, “I thank ev­eryone that is here. We are grateful to God for His mercies. We thank God who has constantly frustrated the machinations of the
enemies and detractors of Ebonyi State.
“Our learned judges said the ap­peal was functionally useless. We should continue thanking God as the bible tells us that whatever comes from God will always over­come. This victory is of God and no man can set it aside. Our detractors have been going about looking for whom to bribe.
“We have confidence in God and the judiciary. Anywhere they take us to, victory will still be ours. They are so ashamed of what we are do­ing in Ebonyi State and they will continue to live in shame.
“I am impressed by the judges, they were wonderful. I thank all our lawyers who defended us.”


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