THE sittings of the Ebonyi State Election Petition Tribunal have been moved to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The Secretary of the Tribunal, Nyior Henry Sekulla, in a statement on Wednesday, April 26, said the relocation is with immediate effect.
According to Sekulla, the relocation followed a directive issued by the President of the Court of Appeal, Monica Mensem.
Sekulla observed that the election petition tribunal office in Ebonyi State Judiciary Headquarters in Abakaliki has ceased operations due to the decision.
According to him, all proceedings about the matters before the tribunal will continue in Abuja.
“The Honourable Justice Monica Dongban Mensem, President Court of Appeal – HPCA, has through the Deputy Chief Registrar, Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) Headquarters Abuja, directed the relocation of EPT sitting here to FCT Abuja.
“Therefore, in compliance with the HPCA directives, the petitioners, counsel to parties and the general Public is hereby informed via this medium that the EPT sitting here in Abakaliki thereby cease to operate in Abakaliki as at 26-04-23; filings of processes, taking of proceedings etc. shall henceforth continue at Abuja,” Sekulla said.
Sekula said he lacked the authority to explain the reason for the action.
However, he pointed out that the development also affected the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal and another state.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Francis Nwifuru, emerged as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Ebonyi State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returning officer in Ebonyi, on Monday, March 20, declared Nwifuru winner after he polled 199,131 votes to edge his closest rival, Ifeanyi Odii of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Odii scored 80,191 votes, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate Benard Odoh got 52,189.
Odii and Odoh have rejected the declaration of Nwifuru as the winner of the election and governor-elect of the state.
Nwifuru is the Speaker of the Ebonyi House of Assembly.
The different political parties are yet to react to the election tribunal’s move to Abuja.