Tribunal Upholds LP Senator, Reps’ Polls in Edo, Delta
The National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Benin, Edo State, yesterday, affirmed the election of Senator Neda Imasuen, as the Senator representing Edo South Senatorial District.
Also, the Court of Appeal in Abuja, has reinstated candidate of the Labour Party, Ngozi Okolie, as the authentic winner of the February 25 election for Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State, effectively sacking Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.In Edo, Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen and his party (PDP), had through suit no EPT/ED/SEN/03/2023 approached the tribunal to challenge Imasuen’s victory in the February 25 election.
The petitioners approached the tribunal on five grounds and sought the nullification of Imasuen’s victory for alleged non qualification, over-voting, corrupt practice, non-compliance with the electoral act by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the nomination of the 1st respondent by the LP However, the three-member panel led by Justice Yusuf Ubale Mohammed, dismissed the petition for lack of merit and incompetent, saying the petitioners failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Imasuen was not qualified to participate in the election.
After Justice Mohammed, had read the judgment for over three hours, the tribunal held that the allegations of non-qualification, party nomination or sponsorship for an election were pre-election matters that could only be entertained by a Federal High Court.He added that Iduoriyekemwen and his party PDP also failed to prove that the senator did not score the majority of valid votes in the election.
Justice Mohammed, further held that the petitioners were unable to prove the case of non-compliance with the electoral act and irregularities mentioned during the election.
From Delta, however, the appellate court reinstated Okolie, shortly after it set aside the judgment of the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal in Asaba, which had earlier nullified Okolie’s victory at the poll.
While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the candidate of the Labour Party as winner of the Oshimili/Anochia Federal Constituency election, the tribunal on July 24, in a judgment nullified the victory on the grounds that Okolie ought not to be on the ballot on account of unlawful and illegal nomination.
Miffed by the verdict Okolie had approached the appellate court for an order reversing the decision of the lower tribunal for not being in tandem with the law.
However, in their final judgment on Thursday, the appellate court faulted the tribunal for voiding Okolie’s election and proceeded to dismiss the petition filed by Elumelu before the tribunal on which the voided judgment was given.
The justices stated that contrary to the findings of the tribunal, Okolie was duly nominated, sponsored by the Labour Party, adding that the appellant’s resignation as a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Delta State Government was in accordance with the provisions of the law.
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