Man ‘Resurrects’ In Election Tribunal To Reclaim Mandate


By Jessica Tamaraduoye, Asaba

There was a mild drama at the Delta State Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday when a middle aged man, who was presumed dead, made a surprise appearance in as a witness.

The man, Christopher Anirah, had been subpoenaed by the tribunal to give evidence in an election petition matter between Gibson Ighofose Akporehe, of the All Progressive Congress, APC, and Evelyn Omavowan Oboro, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 House of Representative election for Okpe, Sapele and Uvwie Federal Constituency.

The PDP and its candidate had challenged the victory of Akporehe, the APC flag bearer in the election.

At an earlier sitting of the tribunal, the APC candidate had through his Counsel, Charles Umweni, said that Anirah was dead and thus could not come to testify.

But at the resumed hearing, the matter took a dramatic turn, when the supposedly dead Anirah turned up, claiming that the APC candidate lied.

Anirah, who is the PDP’s star witness, told the tribunal during cross examination, that he was the rightful candidate of the APC for the Okpe, Sapale and Uvwie Federal Constituency election but was fraudulently denied the ticket.

He alleged that Akporehe forged a death certificate from a Genera Hospital that he had died of cardiac failure and hypertension.

He said the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, unwittingly relied on the said document to remove his name from the list of contestants.

He also told the tribunal further that somebody who posed as his family member was made to testify before INEC that the death rumor was true.
The witness said he had been threatened by unknown persons not to appear before the tribunal but to remain ‘dead.’

He subsequently took the Tribunal through the sequence of events beginning from when he won the primaries to the morning of March 28 when he was finally told that he had been substituted.

He said all his efforts to reclaim his mandate were fruitless.

“After the primaries, I travelled briefly out of the country. When I returned on January 23, I heard that one Cyril Ogodo, the deputy state chairman of my party, had sold my mandate to one Gibson Akporehe. The party claimed not to know about it. When I formally reported the matter to the party, the state chairman, Erhue, and the gubernatorial candidate, Emerhor, instructed the deputy state chairman, Ogodo, to go
back and restore my name, which he did after collecting some amounts of money from me,” he claimed.

However, he said that all his efforts to make the party and INEC wade into the matter did not yield results

“They (INEC) interviewed me during which I gave them evidence that I was alive. They then assured me that I could not be substituted because I was alive. They said that they were not happy over the issue, asking why the APC did such a thing. They said I should meet the APC national chairman who signed the letter of substitution to revoke it.”

He claimed that when he approached the APC chairman, John Oyegun, who allegedly signed the substitution letter, he promised to intervene.



    “What I saw was that on March 27, a day to my election, Oyegun, Cyril and Otega conspired and went back to submit the same letter to INEC that I was dead and then submitted the same forged death certificate,” he claimed.

    He said INEC finally yielded to the pressure to substitute his name.

    He urged the court to help him reclaim his mandate.

    The presiding judge, Adebukola Banjoko adjourned the matter to August, 12, 2015 for adoption of objections and written addresses.

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