Tribunal upholds Senator Oduah’s victory

The election of Senator Stella Oduah of Anambra North Senatorial District has been upheld by the Anambra State election petition tribunal

Recall that Senator Oduah who contested under the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner of the February 23 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Oduah’s victory was challenged by the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Chinedu Emeka raising the arguments at the election petition tribunal that Senator Oduah was not qualified to contest the election because she did not possess the required academic qualifications.

According to him, Oduah was still a member of APGA by the time of the election. The former deputy governor also alleged that the election did not comply with the Electoral Act.

But Justice Esther Haruna. said the petitioner failed to prove his allegations beyond reasonable doubt and therefore said Oduah was validly elected

The tribunal also affirmed the election of Valentine Ayika of the PDP, representing Anaocha, Njikoka and Dunukofia Federal Constituencies.

Ayika’s election was challenged by APGA candidate, Dozie Nwankwo.

The election petition tribunal in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State Capital, has dismissed a petition by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Abakaliki/Izzi Federal Constituency, Uchenna Nshi, against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Sylvester Ogbaga.

Nshi approached the tribunal to declare Ogbaga’s election as invalid because, according to him, it was fraught with corrupt practices, voter intimidation, violence, non-compliance to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and unlawful alteration of results in favour of Ogbaga.

He urged the court to set aside the results of polling units, wards and local governments as declared by the first respondent (INEC).

Tribunal chairman Justice Sika Aprioku held that the petition lacked merit as the petitioner failed to bring preponderance of evidence to prove his case.

The tribunal also held that the allegations of corrupt practices, non-compliance with Electoral Act 2010 as amended, and guidelines for the election was not substantiated by the petitioner, even as he did not prove to the court how they affected the outcome of the election.

Justice Aprioku said the testimonies of the petitioner’s witnesses amounted to hearsay as they confirmed during cross examination that they were not present at the polling units where the infractions happened and accordingly, are unreliable and cannot be attached any probative value.

The tribunal awarded N150,000 cost each in favour of the first and second respondents while N20,000 cost was awarded in favour of the third respondent.

Ogbaga described the judgment as the reaffirmation of INEC’s verdict.

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