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Tribunal sacks Rep Ogewu from Benue

The election petitions tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State, has declared Samson Okwu of the PDP as winner of the last House of Representatives election…

The election petitions tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State, has declared Samson Okwu of the PDP as winner of the last House of Representatives election for Oju/Obi Federal Constituency.

The tribunal also nullified the election of David Ogewu of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), just as it ordered the INEC to withdraw the certificate of return earlier issued to him in error and issue a fresh one to Okwu.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice A. A. Adeleye, in his ruling on the petition brought before him by PDP’s Okwu against the election of Ogewu, faulted the declaration of the latter as winner of the election by INEC.

Justice Adeleye explained that the returning officer was not supposed to declare Ogewu winner of the Oju/Obi election using only Oju results because results for Obi which had over 59,000 registered voters had not been released.

He said the step by step procedure spelt out for collation and declaration of results were not followed by the returning officer, and added that the reason of apprehension given for declaration of Ogewu as winner was not backed by any evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt.

The tribunal chairman averred that after the deduction of 252 votes which had no source from Ogewu’s 12,784 votes in Oju, he had 12,562 votes, while Okwu had 6,637 votes in Oju, adding that records before the tribunal showed that Okwu had 7, 543 votes in Obi, while Ogewu had 874 votes.

He also said the allegation that the election was marred by irregularities was not proven as no PDP member nor thug was mentioned in connection with the disruption of elections.

He maintained that votes scored by Okwu in Oju and Obi were 14,300; while Ogewu had 13,306 in both Oju and Obi.

Adeleye, therefore, submitted that after the tribunal had used its powers to add up and subtract the various figures as allowed by law, came to the conclusion that the petitioner, Okwu, should be declared winner and accordingly declared so.

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