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Kalu wins at tribunal, retains seat as senator, Abia-North Senatorial District

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The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia has upheld the victory of Senator Orji Kalu, representing the Abia-North Senatorial District, in the February 25 polls.

A three-man panel led by Justice Samson Paul-Gang, in its unanimous ruling on Tuesday, dismissed the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Mao Ohuabunwa and the Labour Party’s Nnamdi Iro-Orji for lacking merit.

The court, while upholding the victory of Kalu of the All Progressives Congress, said that his election complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The tribunal judges also faulted the arguments of both petitioners that the election did not hold in over 120 polling units, mainly in Ohafia and Arochukwu Local Government Areas of the zone.

Iro-Orji and Ohuabunwa, who came second and third, respectively, in separate suits, had asked the tribunal to overturn the election of the former Abia Governor as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, alleging irregularities.

The tribunal also dismissed the petition of the PDP and Labour Party and the argument that the total number of registered voters in the allegedly affected polling units was far above the margin of victory between Kalu and the first and second runners-up.

The court, in its constitutional interpretation, also validated Kalu’s eligibility to contest the election, stating that his trial and conviction were quashed by the Supreme Court.
Kalu, who currently presides as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatization and Commercialization, was declared the winner by INEC in the keenly contested February 25 senatorial polls, having scored 30,805 votes to defeat Iro-Orji and Ohuabunwa, who got 27,540 and 15,175 votes, respectively.

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