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Tribunal nullifies LP rep’s election in Delta

The National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has nullified the election of Ngozi Okolie of the Labour Party (LP) as the…

The National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has nullified the election of Ngozi Okolie of the Labour Party (LP) as the member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency and declared Ndudi Elumelu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner.

Daily Trust reports that Okolie was declared the winner of the February 25, 2023, federal legislative election by INEC with 53,879 votes to defeat his closet rival and then incumbent representative, Hon Elumelu of the PDP who polled 33,456 votes, and Tony Nwaka of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who scored 11,712 votes.

The Justice A. Z. Mussa-led three-man tribunal held that Okolie was not duly sponsored by the LP as he was not a member of the party as of May 28, 2022, when the primary was purportedly conducted and that he did not resign from public office to contest the election.

In a 107-page judgment that lasted over five hours, the tribunal disqualified Okolie and declared the runner-up, Elumelu, as winner.

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Elumelu, who is the immediate past Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, had in his petition urged the tribunal to disqualify Okolie on the grounds that he was not properly sponsored by the LP and that he did not resign his position as a public office holder.

In an interview, counsel to the petitioner, Andrew Osemenem, described the judgment as “a correct exposition of jurisprudence and the law.”

Osemenem opined that the petitioner was able to prove and the tribunal agreed with it that there was no primary and there was no sponsorship by the LP for the National Assembly election.

He said, “Sections 65 and 66 of the constitution require that for a person to be qualified to contest election into the House of Representatives, he must belong to a political party and must be sponsored by that political party.

“In this instance, Okolie, the tribunal found, was not duly sponsored by the Labour Party because there was no primary.

“The second ground as the tribunal also found in our favour, was that Okolie was in public office, he did not resign, and he continued to collect salary and emoluments in breach of the law. The tribunal agreed with us.

“So, for these two reasons, his election was nullified, and in line with Section 135 of the Electoral Act, Elumelu who was the first runner-up, and has been declared and returned as winner of that election.”

By press time the respondent and his counsel could not be reached for comments on the ruling.

 

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