Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi, Ogochukwu Anioke, Abakaliki, Simon Utebor, Bassey Anthony, Uyo, Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta, Sanni Onogu, Abuja and Kolade Adeyemi, Jos
PDP suffers multiple losses in Ogun; Yayi, others win
Labour Party loses Enugu Rep seat to PDP
Suswam wins in Benue as court sacks APC’s Udende
Bayelsa Rep Agbedi to face supplementary poll
It was a mixed grill yesterday for some members of the National Assembly after the election petition tribunals in the various states either nullified or upheld their elections in the February/March polls.
All Progressives Congress’ Senator Emmanuel Udende (Benue North East), Peoples Democratic Party’s Fred Agbebi (Sagbama/Ekeremor) and Labour Party’s Professor Sunday Nnamchi (Enugu East/Isi Uzo) were sacked by the tribunals while their opponents were declared winners instead.
But Senators Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), Kaka Lawan (APC, Borno Central), Aniekan Bassey (PDP, Akwa Ibom North East), Solomon Adeola (APC, Ogun West) as well as Rep Mohammed Alkali (Peoples Redemption Party, Jos North/Bassa) pulled through as their elections were upheld.
In a split decision of two to one, the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Benue State declared former governor of the state, Gabriel Suswam of the PDP, as the winner of the Benue North-East Senatorial District.
Suswam had challenged the declaration of Senator Emmanuel Udende by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the 2023 elections.
However, Senator Suswam, who had challenged the declaration of Udende, was returned after a judgment that lasted more than three hours in Makurdi on Friday.
The tribunal ruled that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast during the February, 2023 election.
Umahi’s election in Ebonyi South upheld
Also yesterday, the Ebonyi State Election Petitions Tribunal affirmed the election of Senator David Umahi for Ebonyi South Senatorial zone.
Umahi, who is now the Minister of Works, had defeated Mr Linus Okorie of Labour Party and Senator Ama Nnachi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Both Senator Nnachi and Mr Okorie challenged the results in separate suits at the tribunal.
In its ruling, the tribunal ruled that Nnachi and the PDP failed to prove their allegation of illegal cancellation of results with a view to falsifying the results.
The tribunal said: “They failed to plead and tender voters register, number of PVCs collected and call voters who were disenfranchised to give evidence.
“They also failed to prove their allegation of over-voting. They didn’t tender the BVAs report, voters’ register in proof of their case.”
It declared that alleged irregularities cited by the petitioners in 68 out of the over 800 polling units in Ebonyi South Senatorial District did not substantially affect the result and return of the Second Respondent (Umahi).
The petition was dismissed for lacking in merit.
A similar fate befell Okorie’s petition.
The tribunal said the plaintiffs “failed to prove that the principle of margin of votes was applicable to the Petition. They failed to prove that the total number of PVCs collected in polling units where elections allegedly did not hold was more than the difference between the 1st Petitioner and 2nd Respondent.
“The Petitioners did not discharge the burden placed on them by the law. Their case therefore fails.”
Reacting to the judgment, Okorie said it neither served justice nor reflected the evidence presented.
His words:”The minimum expected justice, in the circumstances of that election, was to declare it inconclusive and order a supplementary election in, at least, the 16 polling units with over 10,000 collected PVCs where no elections held/results were not collated; in an election with a declared winning figure (margin of lead) of 2,882! Similar decisions abound from other tribunals across the country”.
“Whatever motivated the tribunal to so flagrantly ignore the weighty evidences before it, especially Certified True Copies of INEC results and the unambiguous provisions of section 137 of the Electoral Act 2022 in the circumstance, is best known to them.”
He said he would take his case to the Court of Appeal.
Lawan, Ndume confirmed as Borno Central/South Senators
The Borno State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal struck out a petition filed by PDP’s Mohammed Kumalia, challenging the victory of Borno Central Senator, Barrister Kaka Shehu Lawan.
The three-man tribunal of Justices M.E Anenih, Justice A.I. Ityonyman and Justice A.O. Adeniji held that the petitioner “failed to present cogent, reliable and compelling evidence that could be sufficient to affect the poll’s result as declared by INEC”.
Scores of residents and Lawan’s supporters trooped to the streets in jubilation as news of his victory at the tribunal spread.
The tribunal also upheld the election of Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South).
It ruled that the plaintiff, Haske Kudla of the PDP, failed to present cogent, reliable and compelling evidence to affect the poll’s result as declared by INEC.
An elated Ndume said the ruling would further strengthen his resolve to serve his constituency with renewed vigour.
He said: “My dear people of southern Borno Senatorial District and all our well-wishers across the country, it is with great gratitude to the Almighty God that I address you on this auspicious day in which God has caused us to enjoy another victory, given that a short while ago, the Elections Tribunal affirmed my electoral victory over PDP’s candidate by outrightly dismissing the petition he filed against my triumph.
“This noble ruling has further reaffirmed the mandate which you gave me in the last election.
“As you may have noted, this petition that has just been dismissed has never ever deterred me from performing my functions as your senator and which goes to say that the court case has never been a distraction to me and I couldn’t have used it as an excuse to deny our people the benefits of their trust in me.
“I consider the petition by my defeated opponent as an exercise of his democratic rights, which cannot be denied.
“As we celebrate this ruling, I wish to call on all my supporters to celebrate this victory with modesty and with utmost respect for the losing camp without any form of ill will. Let us all be practitioners of the decency and decorum we are known for.
This victory is not for Ndume; this victory is for all Borno South constituents.”
Bassey hails tribunal for validating his election
Senator Aniekan Bassey (PDP, Akwa Ibom North-East) was full of praise yesterday for the Justice B.A. Taiwo-led tribunal after validating his election.
He said the judgment upheld the rule of law against emotions and sentiments.
He asked his opponent, Mr. Emaeyak Ukpong of the APC, to join hands with him for the progress of the district and Akwa Ibom State.
The tribunal held that Ukpong failed to substantiate any of the issues brought before it or able to prove any of his allegations bordering on over voting, widespread irregularities and non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act.
Mr. Ukpong, through his Counsel, Jumbo Udom, had asked the tribunal to declare null and void the victory of Senator Bassey for alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and declare him winner of the February 25, 2023 election.
PDP suffers multiple losses at Ogun tribunal
It was a day to forget for the PDP in Ogun State after the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal yesterday dismissed five petitions it filed against the APC.
Dada Ganiyu Adeleke of the PDP could not convince the tribunal to nullify the election Senator Solomon Adeola. He was also asked to pay N500,000 as costs.
Other APC National Assembly members who won theirs suits at the Tribunal were Hon. Isiaka Ibrahim, Ewekoro federal constituncy, in suit EPT/OG/HR/08/2023 Akala Simon Oluwole v. INEC & 2 Ors; Hon. Ishiaq Akinlade of Egbado South/Ipokia Federal Constituency in suit EPT/OG/HR/06/2023 Hosu Emmanuel Adeniyi & Anor. v. INEC & 2 Ors; Hon. Afolabi Afuape of Abeokuta South federal constituency, in suit EPT/OG/HR/04/2023 Amuzu Oluwatoyin Anthony & Anor v. INEC & 2 Ors; and Hon. Gboyega Nasir Isiaka of Yewa North/Imeko Afon federal constituency in suit EPT/OG/HR/10/2023 Eweje Titus Olusoji & Anor v. INEC & 2 Ors.
The Justice Kabir Dabo–led three-man panel dismissed Dada’s petition for “lacking in merit”.
All the other petitions were similarly thrown out on jurisdictional and substantive grounds.
Certificate forgery: Tribunal clears Hon. Alkali
In Plateau State, the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal threw out a petition by APC’s Ibrahim Baba Hassan in which he prayed for the nullification of the election of Muhammad Adam Alkali (People’s Redemption Party, Jos North/Bassa) on the grounds that the legislator forged his primary school leaving certificate.
The tribunal in a unanimous ruling held that the witnessed called by the petitioners left the substance and pursued the shadow.”
Enugu LP Rep sacked, PDP candidate declared winner
The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Enugu nullified the election of Labour Party’s Professor Sunday Nnamchi as the House of Representatives member for the Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency.
Delivering judgment in the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Cornelius Nnaji, the three-man panel of justices led by A. M. Abubakar, declared the petitioner as the duly elected candidate of the election conducted on February 25, 2023.
Prince Nnaji, a one-term federal lawmaker, had challenged the declaration of Nnamchi by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the winner of the election, noting that the respondent was not duly sponsored and qualified to contest under the candidacy of the Labour Party.
In its unanimous decision, the tribunal agreed with the petitioner that the candidate of the Labour Party was not qualified to contest the election.
Tribunal sacks Bayelsa PDP Rep Agbedi, orders rerun
The Bayelsa State National Election Petitions Tribunal ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in some polling units in the Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency of the state.
It directed INEC to immediately withdraw the certificate of return previously awarded to the member representing the Constituency in the House of Representatives, Chief Fred Agbedi of the PDP.
Also, the tribunal mandated INEC to organise a fresh election for approximately 26,000 voters who were unlawfully excluded from the initial election.
The legal proceedings were initiated by Michael Bless Olomu, a candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), who also contested the election.
Olomu contended that he should be declared the rightful winner of the election due to incidents of violence that marred the electoral process.
He alleged that the violence, which was allegedly orchestrated by the opposition, had a significant impact on the election’s integrity.
Specifically, Olomu said elections did not take place in five wards yet results were collated.
According to him, the wards include Ward 5 (Ebedebiri), Ward 11 (Ofoni, Sagbama Local Government Area), Ward 12 (Ekeremor Local Government Area), along with Wards 3 and 4 in Ofoni, Sagbama LGA.
In his response, Chief Fred Agbedi said he was ready to take part in the supplementary election.
The Nation Newspapers