The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, yesterday upheld the election of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Benjamin Kalu by dismissing a petition challenging his victory in the February 25 poll as lacking in merit.
Chief Frank Ifeanyi, who is the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for the Bende Federal Constituency election held on February 18, 2023, had approached the tribunal seeking the nullification of the election that produced Kalu as the winner.
The petitioner also alleged that the first respondent was not qualified to contest the election because he was not the owner of certificates he submitted to the second respondent (INEC), arguing further that Kalu did not score the highest number of lawful votes in the election.
Delivering the judgement on the matter, the three-man panel led by Justice Sampson Gane, ruled that it was the right of the first respondent, (Kalu) to change his name as no person or group of persons has the monopoly of any name and stroke out the case for lacking in merit.
Reacting, the deputy speaker said the tribunal judgement has vindicated him on the validation of his name.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Levinus Nwabughiogu yesterday, Kalu said, “I have never doubted the ability of the judiciary at any level to do justice to issues. My confidence in them has always been unwavering. It has, once again, vindicated me on this matter and also upheld my mandate as the elected representative of the people, in this case, Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State. I am grateful.”