•LP floors APC, PDP at Edo Tribunal, Okechukwu wins Imo seat
From Okey Sampson, Umuahia, Tony Osauzo, Benin and Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The tribunal sitting in umuahia, Abia State has upheld the defeat of former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Chinedum Orji and affirmed the victory of Obi Aguocha of the Labour Party (LP).
The three-man panel dismissed the petition by the candidate of the PDP seeking to nullify the electoral victory of Aguocha in the Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Abubakar Kutigi, it dismissed Orji’s petition for lack of merit.
On Wednesday, another panel sitting in Umuahia had nullified the election of Amobi Ogah of LP and declared Nkiruka Onyejeocha of the APC as the duly elected member of Isuikwuato/Umunneochi federal constituency.
Similarly, the Tribunal sitting in Benin affirmed the election of Mr Omoruyi Osaro of LP for the Egor/Ikpoba-Okha federal constituency of Edo.
In a unanimous judgement by the three-member panel, led by Justice O. A. Chijioke, the tribunal dismissed the petitions of the candidates of the PDP, Mr. Okhuarobo Henry and that of APC Mr. Crosby Eribo for lack of merits
The tribunal held that the two petitioners could not prove a case of non-compliance with the electoral act, corrupt practices and non-qualification allegations against the LP candidate in the election.
Delivering the judgement, Justice O.A. Chijioke held that the petitioners failed to prove their cases and thereby dismissed the petitions for lack of merit.
“We hold that the petitioners failed to prove any of the grounds raised in the petitions and the petitions are hereby dismissed for lack of merits.”
The petitioners, Henry and Eribo had approached the tribunal to challenge the election of Osaro on the grounds that he was not qualified to contest.
They claimed non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022 in the conduct of the election, as well as Osaro’s dual nationality adding that the LP could not have had a candidate in the said election.
However, the Justice Chijioke-led election panel resolved all the grounds and averred that the petitioners merely dumped documents on the tribunal without any probative value.
In another ruling, Imo State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Nasarawa State, affirmed the declaration and return of Dibiagwu Eugene Okechukwu of APC as winner of the Oguta/Ohaji-Egbema/Oru West federal constituency.
In a unanimous judgment, the three-member panel led by Justice Yusuf Halilu held that Dibiagwu Eugene Okechukwu was duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
It was also the findings of the tribunal that the election was not invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, nor was it invalid by reason of any corrupt practice.
Other members of the tribunal who agreed with the lead judgment are Justices M.G. Abubakar and Justice A.O. Familoni.
Accordingly, the tribunal dismissed the petition No EPT/IMO/HR/12/2023 filed by Ilo Ezenwa Collins of LP against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Dibiagwu Eugene Okechukwu and the APC for grossly lacking in merit.
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