Tribunals sack House of Reps members from Imo, Kano

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National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal in Imo State has sacked two Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives members from the state.
They are: Ikeagwuonu Onyinye Ugochinyere, the lawmaker representing Ideato North and South Federal Constituency, and Jonas Okeke Onwuegbuchulam, representing Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency.

While the tribunal ordered the conduct of a supplementary election in Ideato North and South Federal Constituency, it ordered that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a Certificate of Return to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Okafor Chike John, to represent Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency.

In five judgments yesterday, a three-member panel of the tribunal unanimously held that Ugochinyere and Onwuegbuchulam were not qualified to contest the February 25 National Assembly election, having been elected through invalid primary elections conducted by the PDP.

The judgments of the panel, led by Anthony Akpovi, were on five separate petitions filed against the two lawmakers representing the two federal constituencies.

The tribunal, which sat in Nasarawa State, ordered INEC to, within 90 days, conduct a supplementary election in 55 polling units where the petitioners, Abazu Chika Benson and the All Progressives Congress (APC), successfully proved that election was never held.

In Kano State, the National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal nullified the election of the candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) for Kura/Madobi/Garun Malam Federal Constituency, Yusuf Umar Datti.

The NNPP candidate was declared winner of the February 25 National Assembly poll conducted by the INEC after he defeated Musa Illiyasu Kwankwaso of the APC.

But Kwankwaso sought the nullification of the election, arguing that Datti did not retire from his teaching job before vying for the House of Representatives seat.

The tribunal agreed with Kwankwaso’s submission and declared him winner of the election.

The three-man penal, led by Justice Flora Azinge, upheld the petition filed by the APC candidate and voided Yusuf’s election for his failure to resign from his lecturing job at Bayero University in Kano (BUK) within 30 days before the election.

Also, the National/State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, affirmed the election of Senator Abba Morro of the PDP representing Benue South.

The APC candidate, Daniel Onjeh, had filed a petition, seeking the nullification of Morro’s election victory in the February 25 poll.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha, said the evidence presented by the petitioners was weak, porous and lacking in substance, hence could not sustain their petition.

On March 17, Onjeh filed the petition, which was premised on three grounds that Morro was not elected by majority of the lawful votes cast and that his election did not comply with the Electoral Act, guidelines and manual for the poll.

Morro’s objection against the competence of the petition was dismissed and the petition was heard on its merit.

The three-member panel held that the petitioners failed to present credible and reliable evidence to back their case.

It also held that the petitioners could not plead the relevant act under which they were complaining, adduce sufficient and tender compelling evidence to prove that non-compliance with relevant electoral laws took place.

Also, the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Kaduna State upheld the election of Lawal Usman of the PDP as the senator representing Kaduna Central in the 10th National Assembly.

The APC candidate, Muhammad Abdullahi, had claimed that Usman was not nominated by his party, in accordance with the Electoral Act, and was not properly sponsored by the PDP to contest the election, among others.

But the three-man panel, led by Justice H. H. Kereng, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

Justice Kereng, who read the verdict, held that the petitioners failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the PDP candidate’s National Examination Council (NECO) results and the other academic qualifications he presented to the INEC were forged.

The tribunal explained that the petitioners could not prove that the first respondent was not duly elected by the majority of votes cast in the February 25 poll.

It dismissed the petition and upheld the election of Usman was duly elected as senator for Kaduna Central.

The Nation

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